The California legislature is considering a bill that would ban the use of e-cigarettes and similar smokeless vaporizers in areas where tobacco smoking is banned (SB 648 - Sen. Corbett).
The Assembly should reject SB 648 on the grounds that vaporizers offer a proven, beneficial "harm reduction" substitute for medical marijuana users by reducing exposure to harmful smoke toxins while at the same time posing no second-hand smoke hazard to the public.
Though SB 648 was approved by the State Senate as a bill against tobacco e-cigarettes, it would adversely impact use of vaporizers by medical marijuana patents. Current state law (HSC 110945 b) defines e-cigarettes as "device[s] that can provide an inhalable dose of nicotine by delivering a vaporized solution." This includes a wide range of vaporization devices now widely used for medical marijuana and other herbs, as well as tobacco and nicotine.
Vaporizers are designed to eliminate the respiratory hazards of smoking by eliminating the combustion that produces the smoke. Regular pipes and cigarettes produce carcinogenic tars, particulates and other smoke toxins that are a byproduct of burning leaves. Vaporizers don't produce these toxins because they don't burn anything, but rather evaporate an underlying solution or preparation of nicotine, cannabis, etc. at much lower temperatures.
Laboratory studies sponsored by California NORML have shown that vaporizers can effectively eliminate carcinogenic tars, benzene, naphthalene, toluene, and other respiratory toxins from inhaled marijuana.
A study by California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research found that vaporizers are an effective alternative delivery system to smoking for medical marijuana users (Dr. Donald Abrams, "Vaporization as a 'Smokeless' Cannabis Delivery System.") Vaporizers have since become standard in medical cannabis research and are widely used by patients in places where smoking is banned.
SB 648 would place vaporizers under the same stringent restrictions as tobacco cigarettes, banning their use in public buildings, restaurants, workplaces, hotel lobbies, playgrounds, within 20 feet of exit doors, etc.