Thank you, Mr. President. I'll be brief. First of all, I want to thank the members of Council for supporting the previous bill, 140095, to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. I think that was a very sensible bill that even the tobacco industry couldn't figure out how to oppose it.
But what you've heard or what you've gotten over the last week or two, including ads on the radio and what you heard today, I believe, with all due respect, have had a lot of misstatements and hyperbole. I just want to state a few facts before we vote on this bill.
Fact: Electronic cigarettes are a totally unregulated product. We are proposing reasonable regulations, not a ban, to protect the health of people. We do not know exactly what ingredients or the level of ingredients that are in a lot of these products. And when we talk about these products, we're not talking about just simply what was shown today. We are talking about all kind of different products, as somebody once described as the Wild Wild West products. Many of them look like cigarettes, and most of them do emit vapor. That was a good show that was put on here, but most of them, even the editorial in the Inquirer today, the picture that accompanied it showed someone emitting vapor. We don't know what's in all that vapor, despite what was said today.
And I want to point out that 1.5 million people are in the City; 1.4 million do not use electronic cigarettes. I think we have to base our decisions on the majority of that 1.4.
Another fact: The three largest cities in the United States - New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago - and the entire State of New Jersey, among others, have passed similar indoor use regulations.
Fact: Supporters of this bill include the University of Pennsylvania Lung Center, the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, the Philadelphia County Medical Society, Independence Blue Cross, health professionals at Temple University, and our present Health Commissioner, Dr. Don Schwarz, and as you heard today, our past Health Commissioner, Dr. Walter Tsou, I think people and organizations that you would call certainly mainstream in the health industry.
Fact: If people want to use them for smoking cessation to quit smoking, please go right ahead. We hope it helps. We hope it works. Although there have been no studies; in fact, a study just came out the other day, that showed there are no direct correlation between electronic cigarettes and quitting smoking. But, again, if that makes people comfortable, if they think it works for them, please do it, but do it in a safe manner that does not affect other people.
And, finally, fact: The big tobacco companies are the impetus behind the opposition to most of this bill. They have the lobbyists working the halls. And nothing against the lobbyists. They're doing their jobs representing their clients. The tobacco companies funded the radio ads that we've been hearing the last few days. They produce a lot of the electronic cigarettes. They market them. It's their products. They're making money off of them.
Do I have to remind people of the history, the history that for decades tobacco companies lied, lied, lied to the public about the effects of cigarettes, about the effects of thirdhand smoke -- secondhand smoke, probably thirdhand too. Secondhand smoke of cigarettes. So now they're saying, Trust us, this product is safe, we would not harm you. Really, Mr. President? Really? Do we trust them? I'm sorry. I don't.
Again, this is a reasonable bill that provides reasonable regulations in the City of Philadelphia, and I respectfully ask all Councilmembers to support it.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.