Electronic Cigarettes and Hookah
Effects on Indoor Air Quality and the Smoke-Free Ordinance
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Louisville Metro’s current Smoke-Free Ordinance prohibits smoking tobacco in indoor public places and worksites. However, electronic cigarettes and hookah are not explicitly restricted in the 2008 Ordinance.
Electronic cigarette emissions are not a “harmless water vapor,” and it is not as safe as clean air. Emissions can contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, and chemicals that are known toxicants, carcinogens, and respiratory irritants. Some of the most commonly identified chemicals from electronic cigarettes include propylene glycol, formaldehyde, metals, particulate matter, and nicotine.
Smoke from a hookah contains many of the same harmful and carcinogenic components as cigarette smoke. A typical hour-long hookah smoking session involves breathing in 100-200 times the volume of smoke inhaled in a single cigarette. Secondhand smoke from a hookah contains a significant amount of tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and heavy metals.
Electronic cigarettes and hookah:
- Are tobacco products
- Negatively affect indoor air quality
- Expose non-users to harmful chemicals
- Undermine enforcement efforts and create confusion
By making a simple revision to the language in the current ordinance, the use of such products can be restricted in public indoor spaces where smoking and/or tobacco use is already prohibited.
Expanding the Smoke-Free Ordinance to include electronic cigarettes and hookah aligns with the Healthy Louisville 2020 goals of reducing and eliminating exposure to smoking related health hazards and reducing exposure to environmental health hazards. The revised Smoke-Free Ordinance, without any exemptions, would promote clean and smoke-free environments in all public indoor settings and protect Louisville Metro’s clean air standards, reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants, protect non-users and employees against exposure to harmful chemicals, and assist with enforcement of the Smoke-Free Ordinance.
Support for Expanding Smoke-Free Laws
As of January 2, 2017:
- 589 communities nationwide include electronic cigarettes in their smoke-free laws
- 14 communities in Kentucky include electronic cigarettes in their smoke-free laws
- 302 communities nationwide include hookah in their smoke-free laws
- 11 communities in Kentucky include hookah in their smoke-free laws
- Local, state, national, and worldwide health and advocacy organizations recommend that electronic cigarettes and hookah not be used in public indoor settings
- 12 local organizations have already stepped up to show their support for including electronic cigarettes and hookah in the Smoke-Free Ordinance
- Over 30 local businesses, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, sports facilities, and entertainment venues in Louisville have proactively prohibited the use of electronic cigarettes and hookah indoors as a part of their smoke-free or wellness policy.
E-cigarettes do not just emit “harmless water vapor.” Second hand aerosol from e-cigarettes contains nicotine, ultrafine particles and toxins that are known to cause cancer. The nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. When you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms including feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious. E-cigarettes can have the adverse health consequences as conventional cigarettes.
- Fact Sheet
- Five Reasons to include E-cigarettes in Smoke-free Laws
- Second hand exposure
- 2017 Map of States & Municipalities with Laws Regulating Use of Electronic Cigarettes in 100% Smokefree Venues
- Number of Local and State Laws* Enacted by Year that Prohibit the Use of Electronic Smoking Devices in Smokefree Environments
- States and Municipalities with Laws Regulating Use of Electronic Cigarettes
- Louisville Establishments with a Policy Prohibiting the Use of Electronic Cigarettes and/or Hookah
- Read our Report and Recommendation to Mayor Fischer
Hookah is a popular method of smoking flavored tobacco or other substance in a waterpipe. While some may believe this form of smoking is less harmful than cigarettes, studies from the American Lung Association and the World Health Organization indicate that it may be even more harmful. Compared to cigarettes, hookah waterpipe users inhale higher carbon monoxide levels and 1.7 times the dose of nicotine.
Hookah smoking presents a danger to nonusers through secondhand exposure to toxins. Hookah smoke emits dangerous levels of fine particulate air pollution and carbon monoxide from the heat source (often charcoal). Both national and local air quality studies in hookah lounges have found levels of aerosolized breathable particulate matter (PM2.5) directly comparable to those in establishments that allow cigarette smoking which far exceed the ambient air quality standards established by the EPA.