Until we know e-cigarettes are safe, restrictions are appropriate
From a public health perspective, I commend the Rochester Park Board and City Council for recently banning public e-cigarette use.
As researcher in Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Research Program, a summary of my concerns regarding e-cigarette use is as follows: e-cigarettes have more risk than standard nicotine replacement therapy; there is no evidence for safety with long-term use; there is no evidence for efficacy as an aid to quitting smoking; e-cigarettes deliver low and potentially inconsistent levels of nicotine; "passive" vapor is not just water vapor and may be harmful, especially during pregnancy; there is no regulatory framework to monitor manufacturing standards.
The vaping solution and reservoirs for e-cigarettes can be modified to significantly increase nicotine delivery levels. It is important to note that the developing human brain is susceptible to nicotine addiction up to the age of 25.
Most importantly, e-cigarettes are not tobacco products, but are drug delivery devices that can be used for illicit drug delivery, as noticed recently in Florida.
Due to these unresolved issues, e-cigarettes should be banned publicly until safety and efficacy are confirmed by well-designed, peer-reviewed clinical trials and analytical chemical testing. With the appropriate resulting data, any ban on e-cigarettes could be made less restrictive or even rescinded in the future. For now, we must restrict and question any manufacturer's premature claims of safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes.
Dr. Gary A. Croghan