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Your Opinion: Don't fume over E-cigarettes

Your Opinion: Don't fume over E-cigarettes

August 10th, 2011 by Sandy Rehmeier, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

E-cigarettes: Know what they are? How they work? We smokers do. It's evident anti-smokers in Jefferson City don't.

The "E-cigarette" isn't a cigarette. It's an electronic device that looks like a conventional cigarette; you inhale it like a regular cigarette, but the similarity ends there. E-cigs do not produce any harmful smoke. The don't burn; they don't produce any offensive odor. When you inhale, the atomizer in the filter produces water vapor which the smoker exhales. It's not smoke but water vapor.

They're electronic. You don't light them; they have no odor, there are no harmful emissions, and there's no dangerous second-hand smoke.

When E-cigs were introduced, I was ecstatic. Smokers can satisfy their cigarette cravings without offending anyone. Complaints and health issues involving smoking would be moot and everybody wins.

In every restaurant I've eaten in since the smoking ban took effect, I've had to deal with self-righteous, do-gooder, anti-smokers who covertly complain to servers that I'm smoking and the smoke's bothering them. There's no smoke or smell. Where's the complaint? I'm exhaling odorless water vapor. It's amazing to me and the servers when these complainers are told there's no smoke from an E-cig. Anti-smokers are so empowered by the smoking ban that they're imagining smoke and odor from an E-cig. I wish these anti-smokers would ask me about my "cigarette." I'd be happy to demonstrate it to them.

The only restaurant I've found in Jefferson City that bans E-cigs is Longhorn Steakhouse. We're told by management (after an older woman complained on Father's Day) that the City of Jefferson had sent a letter banning E-cigs. When they couldn't produce this "letter," they said the Darden Co. policy was no E-cigs anyway. The legal department of Jefferson City informed us that E-cigs are not banned. E-cigs don't violate the smoking ban because they don't burn and they don't produce smoke. Longhorn has lost my business.

I understand the arguments that took away the smoker's right to smoke; the smell, mess and health issues attributed to second-hand smoke. But I have a problem with anti-smokers complaining unfairly about E-cigs. We're not polluting your air. If E-cigs are banned, it'll reinforce my belief that it's more about power than it is about health.