Ban on indoor e-cigarette use proposed

Electronic smoking devices would be banned from indoor public buildings under a bill considered Feb. 12 by the Health and Human Services Committee.

Sen. Dan Quick
Sen. Dan Quick

LB840, introduced by Grand Island Sen. Dan Quick, would amend the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor.

Secondhand vapor is dangerous, he said, and Nebraskans deserve clean air in their public spaces and workplaces.

“Electronic smoking devices produce aerosol vapors that can expose bystanders to nicotine, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals along with ultra-fine particles that go deep into the lungs,” Quick said.

Teresa Anderson, testifying on behalf of Nebraska Local Public Health Departments, spoke in support of the bill. Children particularly are at risk of inhaling or ingesting nicotine, she said.

“There is no established safe level of nicotine exposure,” Anderson said. “The aerosol from these devices leaves a chemical residue on surfaces creating thirdhand exposure for employees and customers.”

Nick Faustman of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network also supported LB840. He said the bill would protect workers in restaurants, bars and vape and tobacco shops.

“Everyone has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air,” Faustman said. “No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.”

Scott Lautenbaugh, testifying on behalf of the Nebraska Vape Vendors Association, spoke against the bill. He said fears of secondhand vapor are unproven and the bill could hurt vape shops financially by preventing customers from sampling products.

“It is crucial to these businesses that people actually be able to vape inside vape shops,” Lautenbaugh said. “You’re protecting adult vapers from the alleged dangers—I should underline—from secondhand vape. That doesn’t make any sense.”

The committee took no immediate action on LB840.

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