Last week, during a House Transportation Committee hearing, Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, made history by vaping as he slammed a proposed e-cigarette ban on planes.
“First, I’d like to say this,” Hunter said before taking a deep puff of his vaporizer. “This is a vaporizer. There’s no combustion, no carcinogens. There is no burning. There is no smoke. There is nothing noxious about this whatsoever.”
As he exhaled a large cloud of harmless vapour, a female colleague seated next to him frantically tried to wave the cloud away with her hands. Hunter has been a strong advocate for vaping, defending e-cigarettes and vaporizers as a method of tobacco harm reduction. A former cigarette smoker, Duncan has spoken eloquently about how vaping helped him turn away from smoking cigarettes.
After House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi gleefully celebrated the squashing bill that would have saved almost all e-cigarette products from prohibition, Hunter wrote to her warning that she and her fellow Democrats had just aided and abetted tobacco companies with their party’s opposition to vaping.
“Ironically, by not supporting the commercial availability of e-cigarettes, with all their advancements in recent years, you are giving your support – whether intended or not – to traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products,” Hunter continued.
“Although you may not want to acknowledge it, e-cigarettes are a suitable alternative to tobacco cigarettes, and they could very well have saved my life, as well as the lives of so many Americans who are making their best effort to quit nicotine. It is unfortunate that you are willing to deny these potentially life-saving products, and then boast about doing so.”
Despite Hunter’s best efforts in the House, the committee voted in favour of the bill 33-26, which, in effect, said vaping should be treated the same as smoking and be prohibited in airline cabins. Oh well … the vote was close, and Representative Hunter is nearer and dearer to our hearts as he continues to expound on the virtue and value of the e-cigarette.