Who should determine where electronic cigarettes are used?

“Vaping” at Smokeless Smoking in Bloomington. Mark Zdechlik/MPR News

Related question: A previous TQ asked if e-cigarettes should be treated the same as regular cigarettes. You can continues that discussion here.

Electronic cigarette users are firing up their devices in all kinds of places people wouldn’t consider lighting a conventional cigarette. That’s inspired moves in the Minnesota Legislature to regulate “vaping” in the same way smoking is restricted. But people who puff on nicotine mist say it’s harmless and a far cry from smoking. They say government regulations are unnecessary.

MPR News reporter Mark Zdechlik outlines two sides of the electronic cigarette debate:

“We’re not advocating that e-cigarettes be totally banned or made illegal. What we’re asking is that or what we’re suggesting is that e-cigarettes have the same common sense regulations that we’ve used for regular cigarettes,” lung association spokesman Bob Moffitt said. “It just makes good sense.”

E-cigarettes users, however, take issue with the comparison to conventional cigarettes.

“We’re not smoking anymore. We don’t smell like smoke anymore. We’re not blowing smoke into the air anymore, so we don’t want to be treated like smokers,” said Matt Black, president of Minnesota Vapers Advocacy, a group that formed last year to head off legislation clamping down on vaping.

Black, 32, said he quit smoking conventional cigarettes the day he started vaping about a year ago and that many other Minnesotans are taking a similar path.

Many e-cigarette users, he warned, will go back to smoking regular cigarettes if they have to live by the same rules as conventional smokers, worsening public health.

Today’s Question: Who should determine where electronic cigarettes are used?