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By Steve Birr
Health officials are sounding the alarm on the supposed dangers of electronic cigarettes, urging businesses to institute a voluntary ban on vaping in Illinois.
Representatives of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said they are actively working with businesses in the county to integrate vaping bans into their policies. More than 300 businesses in Champaign County have already added bans on the use of e-cigarettes, according to officials with the health district, but argue more businesses must participate to help reduce public exposure to vapor, reports WJBD.
A 2008 Illinois law banned public smoking, but officials in the region say it needs to be updated to incorporate vaping devices. In the absence of legislative action, the health district is asking businesses to take matters into their own hands.
“That’s why we’ve been working with so many restaurants to develop e-cigarette policies,” Tara McCauley, special projects coordinator for the health district said, according to The Champaign News-Gazette. “We get calls sometimes from restaurants who ask, do we have to let people vape, and we say, of course not. You can have your own policy.”
Lawmakers in cities and states across the U.S. are enacting new bans and restrictions on e-cigarettes that public health experts warn will end up harming everyone. Critics of harsh rhetoric against e-cigarettes point out that vaping reduces harm to smokers and those around them, and that it is a valuable tool for those trying to quit smoking and improve their health.
Many medical professionals actually advise smokers to give the devices a try. A survey published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2016 found that 57.8 percent of practicing physicians recommend e-cigarettes to smokers trying to quit, although the push to cast public doubt on vaping may be impacting this number.
Vaping eliminates up to 95 percent of the risk associated with cigarettes because the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are inhaled through smoke.