In response to Carrie Brogoitti's column ("Vapes and e-cigarettes are not safe for anyone," The Observer, Jan. 27), I agree that critical facts are not only misunderstood but severely misrepresented. While it is true breathing anything but fresh air is not healthy, you excluded that vaping is actually less harmful than regular toxins in the air caused by industry and rush-hour traffic.

The real truth is that there is no study anywhere that reveals vape as equal to or greater than cigarettes. It should be used as a tool to get people off cigarettes.

Also, are you claiming that nicotine causes all the disease? I think you need to double-check. Nicotine is the addictive element, not the cause of tobacco-related diseases. The methodology treating vape as equal or worse and banning it simply doesn't lend to tobacco-use reduction. It is counterproductive and creates black markets.

We have already seen the active black market in Oregon, the source of the products that caused the vape illnesses we have seen. FDA-regulated vape products had nothing to do with these illnesses. If you wish to control youth access, then treat tobacco products like other age-restricted products. Hand out minor-in-possession citations when youths are caught — just like with alcohol.

Ignoring the potential in vape and other lower-health risk products such as premium cigars only serves to protect big tobacco from competitors that could significantly reduce (not eliminate) tobacco health impacts. That is a better process than prohibition — and safer as well.

John Hill

Oregon Cigar Association, president

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