How Should Bay Area Cities Regulate E-Cigarettes?

Mar 17, 2015
Courtesy Daniel Hadley via Flickr

Host Joseph Pace explores the debate surrounding e-cigarette regulation in the Bay Area. 

The common act of 'vaping' has attracted increasing public attention, most recently through last month's ban of e-cigarettes in BART trains and stations. While some argue that e-cigarettes present a safer alternative for smokers, others contend that they could encourage smoking among young people and might pose a public health threat. What do we know about the effects of e-cigarettes, and how should they be regulated?


As controversy rages regarding the government's right to regulate health, some have been quick to compare the ideas of government regulation to preventing obesity, to legislation against lung cancer and smoking. While  obesity and lung cancer are both health issues, research shows that they aren't as analogous as one might expect. Men who smoke a pack  of cigarettes per day have a relative risk of mortality nearly four times higher than the national average. The relative risk of mortality from obesity isn't even close to that; it's 1.5 times the average.