In 2006, Arizona voters passed a ban on smoking in public places. As electronic cigarettes grow more popular, questions are being raised as to whether those smoking devices are included in the ban. Attorney Pavneet Singh Uppal of Fisher and Phillips will discuss the gray areas when it comes to banning e-cigarette use in public places.
Ted Simons: In Arizona voters passed a ban on smoking in public places. Questions are being raised as to that ban, and other aspects of smoking and if they apply to e-cigarettes, which are becoming more popular. Pavneet Singh Uppal is here with Fisher Phillips. Let's start with the definition, what is an e-cigarette?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: Well, it's essentially a vaporized nicotine delivery device. People familiar with cigarettes which involves the burning of tobacco. There is no tobacco burned in an E-cigarette. It involve as cartridge that delivers nicotine in a vapor form.
Ted Simons: There's no smoke but how much vapor?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: The visual tends to mimic the act of smoking. You will not see as much smoke as you would with a cigarette or a cigar. But you will see a puff which looks like smoke but it is not.
Ted Simons: So is that vapor harmful? Does it smell?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: It tends not to smell. And the jury is out on the harms. One of the thoughts is that e-cigarettes are essentially marketed as being healthier but for the users as well as people who may not be smokers but are not subject to the effects of secondhand smoking. That's the way it's marketed. It's a healthier alternative for the user, and it may allow the user to quit, they could for example watch out for charges to substitute cartridges with ever-smaller amounts of nicotine. It's such a new product and such a new concept the science is not complete on whether this is really healthier for the user and other people that may be exposed to it.
Ted Simons: As we mentioned. The voter approved ban on smoking. Obviously that was because of second happened smoke and the air around smokers?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: Arizona was ahead of the curve in passing a smoking ban in most public places including the concept was that this isn't just an issue that affects the smoker himself or herself, but the smoke itself, because of the effects of secondhand smoking. As of 2006 in Arizona smoking is essentially banned in enclosed places including the workplace, as well as for example in company vehicles. However, that act is limited to the smoking of tobacco. The smoke free workplace act talks about burning tobacco. When you go to e-cigarettes there is no tobacco being burned. The statute itself does not apply to e-cigarettes. The legislature may decide to do so. As of right now that act did not apply.
Ted Simons: I want to smoke some tea leaves or something I found out in the desert. It's not tobacco does that mean it does not apply? Burning an item is the key?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: That's right, that's right.
Ted Simons: You don't burn anything.
Pavneet Singh Uppal: That's right, it's vaporized, the -- it's you're not burning tobacco or tobacco-like plant based products.
Ted Simons: Bars and eateries and employers, how are they handling this? Are you seeing any of that out there so far?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: The reality is that most employers have not implemented as of yet formalized policies with respect to e-cigarettes. Employers in Arizona do have formalized policies under which employers have said you cannot spoke in the workplace or in -- It doesn't only apply to employees. There's no law that says you have to permit people to smoke e-cigarettes in the workplace. In terms of the trucks, our prediction is people we'll bell smoke e-cigarettes.
Ted Simons: I'm seeing some distant irony and get all that secondhand smoke. That's a little wrong, isn't it?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: My company, Fisher and Phillips, we're advising our clients that if you are a company that does allow designated smoking areas for your employees that smoke tobacco products, you should set up a segregated area for those who are using e-cigarettes. Many people using them are actually current tobacco users trying to quit. Their theory is they have tried the patch or to go cold turkey and that hasn't worked? I think with progressively smaller amounts of nicotine delivery, we think a best practice is that if you are going to allow people to smoke you should have a designated smoking area for users.
Ted Simons: If you're not telling them to quit, you're banishing them out there to a place where it's unhealthy. That doesn't make sense.
Pavneet Singh Uppal: Absolutely.
Ted Simons: Increasing numbers of insurance policies are looking at whether or not you are a cigarette smoker. Whether or not you are an E-cigarette smoker, is that now on the horizon?
Pavneet Singh Uppal: To my knowledge it's not already being asked. I can see insure goes that route. Most people realize if you're a cigarette smoker you might have to pay increased premiums for your policy. Is it really going to turn out that people who take up the habit of smoking e-cigarettes will be able to then wean themselves off of tobacco products? Or is it going to be something you do by yourself. It's a very new product. You can see E-cigarette commercials on television.
Ted Simons: Good information, thanks for joining us.
Pavneet Singh Uppal: Thank you for having me.
Pavneet Singh Uppal:Attorney, Fisher and Phillips;