DENVER (CBS4)– Finding a place to vape in Colorado could soon be as hard as finding a place to smoke. State lawmakers plan to amend the Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes.
Right now, the law bans smoking but not vaping in restaurants, workplaces, and most indoor areas open to the public. Susan Weiser, General Manager of the Urban Farmer restaurant in Denver among those supporting the bill.
“Whether it smells like bubble gum or whether is smells like cigarette smoke, it upsets the sensory experience of all of it. That the smell of it is offsetting to rest of guests and we want you to be able smell and enjoy food as we put it out,” said Weiser.
Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, the sponsor of the bill, has another motive. She wants to discourage the use of e-cigarettes by kids.
The U-S Surgeon General says teen vaping is an epidemic and Colorado has the highest rate of teen use in the country. A recent survey found nearly 90 percent of kids think smoking is unhealthy but only 50 percent think vaping is.
“This one way that we can intervene and say, ‘Hey, we don’t think this is good’ and we want to get the message to the youth in our communities, ‘Please stop,’” said Michaelson Jenet.
Among the bill’s biggest backers is Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“I think we are just starting to get the tip of iceberg in terms of the potential negative health effects of these devices by teens,” said Dr. Heather Hoch, a Pediatric Pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
She says one cartridge in an e-cigarette contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, as well as other toxic chemicals.
“And we have teens using one, two, three of these pods a day,” said Hoch.
Studies show those breathing in second hand vapors, especially pregnant women and those with chronic health problems, are also at risk.
Weiser says the bill just makes sense, “If we’ve outlawed the smoking, I mean, why shouldn’t outlaw something like this as well?”
The bill would also ban vaping within 25 feet of public buildings and workplaces. Michaelson Jenet said, for now, the big e-cigarette manufacturer Juul is not opposing the bill.