E-Cigarette Debate Continues In Oklahoma Senate

Wednesday, January 22nd 2014, 6:40 pm
By: News 9

Doctors, lawmakers and e-cigarette advocates were all present in the Senate Chamber on Wednesday. The joint study was to open dialogue between individuals on both sides of the issue.

"I'm just a vapor consumer, have been for over 14 months now," said vapor user, Jerry Blakely. "My health has improved. It's improved my life a lot."

After smoking for 27 years, Blakely's stance is now firm on e-cigarettes.

"This is the greatest alternative in several generations," said Blakely.

Counter to Blakely's assurance, legislators like Rep. Mike Shelton remain doubtful.

"We need to create a standard," said Shelton.

The main focus for Wednesday's joint study was to continue the conversation on e-cigarettes; the exact same stand point the American cancer society has before any legislation is passed.

"There's a lot we don't know on e-cigarettes, and what we think we know is not necessarily evidence and not a fact," said American Cancer Society's Dr. Len Lichtenfeld.

Along with Lichtenfeld, advocates with a stance on e-cigarettes and vapors spoke in front of the public health committee. And the main concern was raised on the amount of nicotine that goes in the e-cigarettes.

"I think we need to know specifically and possibly pass legislation for what goes into that nicotine. And I don't think we can depend on self-policing," said Shelton.

It is also a question the American cancer society is calling on the FDA to answer.

"If they are really safe and consistent in uniform from manufacturers," said Lichtenfeld.

But Blakely believes the proof is in the consumer.

"We have something that works and we need to let it work," said Blakely.

Only e-cigarettes that are marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently regulated by the FDA. But the FDA does intend to issue a proposed rule extending into e-cigarettes.