Dayton bans smoking, vaping, nicotine use for all city employee new hires

Widespread misinformation surrounding vaping and e-cigarettes is resulting in several U.S. cities implementing local ordinances which are, in fact, counter-intuitive to improved public health.  The localized anti-vaping movement initially began by prohibiting the use of vapor products in designated non-smoking areas.

Then last year, San Francisco passed legislation prohibiting the sales of flavored e-liquids throughout the region, only to kick things up a notch by prohibiting the sales of all vapor products citywide earlier this summer.  This week, the misguided attacks on e-cigs hit the Midwest as Dayton, Ohio, announces that employees hired after July 15, 2019 must first pass a nicotine test before they can secure employment.

According to the Dayton Daily News, the city’s Director of Human Services Kenneth Couch believes, “Studies indicate that employees that smoke cost approximately an additional $6,000 per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity.” While this statistic may possibly be accurate, Mr. Couch’s inclusion of vaping into the citywide ban is drawing a great deal of public scrutiny.

Confusion over nicotine terminology leads to poor decision-making in Dayton

Vaping is not smoking, and smoking is not vaping.  The single major difference between the two is that the smoke produced by combustible tobacco products contains over 700 carcinogens, thousands of addictive chemicals, and potentially lethal amounts of tar.  The latter of which is only produced from the burning of tobacco leaves.

Vaping, on the other hand, is 100% tobacco-free, and therefore, 95 percent less harmful according to scientific evidence published in 2015 by UK’s Public Health England.  The e-liquids used in vapor products are also made with only three primary ingredients and no extra chemicals.  Besides the special flavorings, vape juice is comprised of an artificial ice cream sweetener - vegetable glycerin - and a third ingredient of propylene glycol which scientists claim kills airborne bacteria like streptococci and pneumococci.

Related Article:  Science shows vaping propylene glycol kills pneumococci, streptococcus bacteria

Confusingly, vaping and smoking do have one thing in common.  They both contain nicotine, which is where Mr. Couch and his followers get into trouble by failing to recognize the tremendous differences between tobacco and nicotine.   For example, eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes contain nicotine.  So, following Couch’s logic, the city of Dayton should also disallow its employees to eat French fries or eggplant parmesan, too – even in the privacy of their own homes.

One of the more vocal Couch supporters is none one other than the president of the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44.  While Mr. Rick Oakley believes that implementing a nicotine ban for new hires may be a “slippery slope” towards employers being able to “dictate their workers’ lawful lifestyle decisions,” his ignorance was on full display when he also issued the following statement.

“We are not thrilled about it, but we also understand where the city is coming from because the biggest part of their health care costs are from nicotine-related illnesses.”

First of all, the term “nicotine-related illnesses” is not a thing. Smoking-related illnesses and smoking-related deaths ARE properly recognized categories used in public health documentation and published scientific research, however.

Just like his co-conspirator Kenneth Couch, Oakley should also learn the distinct differences between smoking and nicotine consumption before offering any opinions on the matter.  His argument against a potential slippery slope of ill-founded hiring practices occurring in Dayton could have been so much more powerful if he had simply done a bit of homework in advance. 

Related Article:  American Cancer Society on vaping: Nicotine is not tobacco

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