First off, Happy Trash Day.
Distinguished members of the Philadelphia City Council, my name is Gregory Conley. I am an ex-smoker of three and a half years, thanks to vapor products commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, and I am here today as a volunteer for the non-profit advocacy and research group, the National Vapers Club, and I am here to strongly urge you to vote no on Councilman Greenlee's bill to deceptively and dishonestly redefine Philadelphia and Pennsylvania's definition of smoking to include the use of smoke-free, tobacco-free, and often nicotine-free electronic cigarettes.
Hundreds of studies have been conducted on e-cigarette vapor, and not a single study has ever found any harmful level of any chemical produced in the vapor of an electronic cigarette. Let me repeat this. No harmful level of any chemical has ever been found in a cigarette vapor. In fact, a Drexel University toxicologist, Dr. Igor Burstyn, examined the subject and found no evidence that e-cigarette vapor poses even a remote risk of risk to bystanders.
So why are we here today? I'm not sure, and judging by today's Philadelphia Inquirer, neither does their Editorial Board, as they correctly called this bill misguided moralism.
This is not only misguided moralism, but it is dishonest, misleading, and harmful moralism.
The sponsor and supporters of this bill talk about children. If this is about children, why are we not providing a way for adult-only establishments like bars to allow e-cigarette use? I am an ex-smoker, and if myself and Philadelphia e-cigarette users want to have a beer and host a support group for smokers who are looking to quit with e-cigarettes, we are forced by this law to go into one of the few remaining Philadelphia bars that still allows people to smoke. That is like sending an alcoholic into a winery for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Let me also point out that this ordinance, like other ordinances across the country, if enacted, will never be enforced. Please, bring your eyes to me for just one moment.
Now, did I just use my electronic cigarette or did I simply hold a metal object up to my lip to simulate using one, which would not be illegal under this act? You have no hope of enforcing this bill. So you are just passing something for the sake of passing it.
Councilman Greenlee, the Philadelphia Commissioner of Health, and Mayor Nutter are shamelessly deceiving the public and trying to get you to redefine smoking to include the use of a smoke-free product. I strongly encourage you to reject this senseless bill and instead work to protect public health.
Thank you very much.