The irony here is e-cigs were initially marketed long ago as a way to get around indoor smoking bans. I fully remember the Blu e-cig ads with Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy smoking e-cigs at parties and clubs. Well not in New York. And not in a growing number of places.
The biggest issue with e-cigs indoors? Well, while that cloud of nicotine-laced steam might not smell and might not be irritating, it’s still got plenty of chemicals in it beside water vapour, including a potentially large amount of formaldehyde. (The e-cig industry has denounced these formaldeyde studies, but boy it sure sounds exactly like the cigarette companies trying to denounce the ties between smoking and lung cancer.)
I’m at the point where, absolutely e-cig steam does not bother me or irritate my eyes … but that doesn’t mean I personally want to inhale it. That doesn’t mean I want that formaldehyde coming into contact with my lung cells. I’ve found myself holding my breath or turning away from people vaping indoors.
So, yeah, sorry about those ads from three or four years ago, but vaping is being banned indoors. And I’m OK with that.
New York joins Chicago (which just banned chewing tobacco a week ago at Wrigley and Comiskey), Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston in banning chewing tobacco at baseball stadiums — and this includes, players, managers and coaches. Chewing tobacco will be banned in San Diego, Anaheim and Oakland in 2017 as California passed a statewide ban that won’t take effect until next year. Toronto is also expected to pass a similar ban on chew.
It will be interesting to see how stringently these rules will be enforced. There’s actually been some grousing and griping about the ban in Chicago. Interestingly, Boston, San Francisco and New York all the OK from their various Major League teams before going ahead with their bans. From an ESPN.com story:
“I’m into personal freedoms,” Maddon said. “I don’t understand the point with all that. Just eradicate tobacco period if you’re going to go that route. I’m not into over-legislating the human race, so for me I’ll just have to listen and learn.”
Generally, I like Joe Maddon, but what bothers me about his argument against banning chew is the players used similar arguments against drug testing for steroids. They bitched and moaned about personal freedom over that, too. And to be clear, because this point seems to confuse a lot of people, they’re not saying players can’t chew tobacco … they just can’t chew tobacco while they’re at the ballpark. They can chew on their own time all they want.
The city and statewide bans are part of an effort to get chew out of baseball. It’s been banned for a long time at the NCAA and Minor League levels. However, it’s still allowed at the Major League level because it would take the approval of the Players’ Association to get it off the field and out of the dugouts, and the Players’ Association hasn’t shown any inclination into letting it be banned. Not all the players are happy about banning chew because of issues over personal choice, etc. It appears banning chew league-wide (and the MLB does actually want to ban it) would require it to be done as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
Chew is a big problem in baseball. Only about 7 percent of men chew tobacco (and about 1 percent of women), but various surveys have shown that as many as 30 percent of professional baseball players chew. it’s been deeply ingrained in the culture of baseball since baseball’s been around.
The push to get it out of the game gained traction with Tony Gwynn’s death a couple of years ago. Gwynn, a longtime chewer, died of salivary gland cancer. Another well-known former player and chewer, Curt Schilling, also recently had a public battle with oral cancer. Both Gwynn and Schilling blamed chew for their cancer.
OK, I don’t have a big agenda with e-cigs, which I will explain in a detailed post tomorrow (I promise), but this reminds me of a dumb move made in Montana regarding e-cigs. When the state’s smoking ban went into place, a lot of the bars around here stocked up on e-cigs that they could sell to their customers who could no longer smoke in the bars. The state health department came down and claimed e-cigs were covered under the smoking ban, and the bars cried, “like … why?” And the state health department responded … “um … we don’t know.” It turns out the state health department literally thought e-cigs were somehow literal electronic cigarettes, which they are not. They are simply a nicotine delivery system, nothing more. After declaring e-cigs banned, the state health department backed down a few weeks later and said they were OK (probably after conferring with lawyers).
And there you have it. E-cigs are massively misunderstood … and let me stress, I am not endorsing them. Just saying they are misunderstoood. There is nothing toxic or poisonous or carcinogenic in the steam coming out of an e-cig. Just nicotine. And you’re not going to get addicted to nicotine because you might inhale a bit of nicotine-laced steam from an e-cig. More on this issue tomorrow (I promise).
Anyway, I guess I’m saying in a roundabout way that this appears to be a bit of an overreach in New York City. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg was possibly the most fanatical anti-smoking, anti-tobacco zealot on the planet — a LOT more than me. New York has some of the strictest anti-smoking ordinances in the country, which for the most part I am completely cool with.
Some people are vowing to fight the New York ban on e-cigs.