GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter pulled no punches at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Thursday when he slammed a proposal to ban vaping on planes.
“First, I’d like to say this,” Hunter said before taking a deep puff of his vaporizer. “This is a vaporizer. There’s no combustion, no carcinogens.”
A veteran of three combat deployments and a vaper himself, Hunter debated his congressional colleagues’ assertions that the device emits smoke. “There is no burning. There is nothing noxious about this whatsoever.”
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who proposed the ban as an amendment to the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, said vaping should be treated the same as smoking and be prohibited in airline cabins.
In a statement sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Hunter’s Chief of Staff Joe Kasper said:
The fact that an amendment was offered to ban vaporizers amid other products goes to show how much some members of congress have to learn about vaping and the benefits it offers next to tobacco. And to say it’s no different than smoking is just nonsense. For Democrats, there’s a proxy war of sorts going on. Tougher regulations on vaping gets them closer to regulating tobacco. The tobacco industry is right to defend vaping, but to link these two as one of the same is just flat wrong.
The committee voted in favor of the amendment 33-26. Hunter has been a strong advocate for vapers, defending e-cigarettes and vaporizers as a method of tobacco harm reduction. A former smoker, Duncan has spoken eloquently about how vaping helped him turn away from smoking.
After House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrated killing a rider in the Omnibus bill that would’ve saved 99 percent of e-cigarette products from prohibition, Hunter wrote to the house minority leader warning her that Democrats are only helping tobacco companies with the party’s opposition to vaping.
“Ironically, by not supporting the commercial availability of e-cigarettes, with all their advancements in recent years, you are giving your support – whether intended or not- to traditional cigarettes and other products,” wrote Hunter.
“Although you may not want to acknowledge it, e-cigarettes are a suitable alternative to cigarettes, and they could very well save my life, as well as the lives of so many Americans who are making their best effort to quit cigarettes. It is unfortunate that you are willing to deny these potentially life-saving products, and then boast about doing so.”