DENVER, Colo.—The Colorado House of Representatives today passed a bill with a vote of 48-17 to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and workplaces. House Bill 1076 will update the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes and remove exemptions for assisted living homes, small businesses and hotels so everyone can breathe clean smoke-free air. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for 100-percent smoke-free laws that include e-cigarettes to protect workers and the public from harmful secondhand smoke exposure and to create communities that support tobacco-free living.
This statewide effort comes amid skyrocketing rates of e-cigarette use both in Colorado and nationwide. Updating Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes will help address the alarming rates of e-cigarette use among teens, while also reducing secondhand smoke exposure and protecting the right of Coloradans to breathe clean air.
"Right now, 27 percent of Colorado high school students use e-cigarettes, which is twice the national average. It’s an epidemic among our kids," said R.J. Ours, Colorado government relations director for ACS CAN. "Youth can be highly sensitive to normalization and perceptions of what is harmful based on what they see in their environments. Allowing e-cigarettes to be used in public places and workplaces is a danger to worker health, encourages use among teens and continues to normalize this behavior."
Using e-cigarettes in public also undermines the public health benefits of strong smoke-free laws that protect everyone from secondhand smoke, including e-cigarettes. E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain nicotine, heavy metals like lead, ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, and a chemical called benzene that is found in car exhaust.
"There are serious questions about the safety of inhaling the substances in e-cigarette aerosol. Studies have shown that using e-cigarettes can cause short-term lung changes and irritations," Ours said. “"It isn’t just people who use e-cigarettes that are at risk. E-cigarettes also pose a risk to nonusers through secondhand exposure to toxicants in the aerosol."
"ACS CAN thanks the House for passing this important public health legislation and urges the Senate to act swiftly and make sure we include e-cigarettes in the state’s smoke-free law with no exemptions," Ours added.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Colorado and this year, 5,100 Coloradans will die from smoking. Smoking also causes roughly 30 percent of all cancer deaths.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.