Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 3, 2015

Schumer Backs Banning ‘E-Cigs’ on Capitol Grounds (Updated)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:20 p.m. | Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., will back a move to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes on Capitol grounds by treating them like more traditional cigarettes.

“Chairman Schumer has no objection to incorporating e-cigarettes into the Senate smoking policies, and will work with the Rules Committee Republicans to amend the regulations accordingly,” Schumer spokesman Matt House said in a statement.

The news comes in response to a letter from a group of Democrats led by Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., seeking the policy change as part of an ongoing fight against “e-cigs.”

Durbin led six other Democrats in writing to the leaders of the Rules and Administration Committee Tuesday seeking to apply existing rules about smoking to the new “e-cigs” — that would mean no smoking in public places or within 25 feet of an entrance.

“The Senate has a long-standing restriction on smoking within public spaces in order to protect the public against the harmful health impacts of second hand smoke. Given preliminary FDA research finding harmful chemicals present in e-cigarettes, measures should be taken to ensure that the public is equally protected from the potential dangers posed by e-cigarettes and their vapor,” the lawmakers wrote. “In the absence of evidence demonstrating the safety of e-cigarettes, particularly for individuals exposed to their vapor, we ask the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to include e-cigarettes in the existing prohibition on smoking.”

Joining Durbin in the effort were Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Barbara Boxer of California and Tom Harkin of Iowa in sending the letter, along with California Rep. Henry Waxman, who is pursuing a ban on the House side of the Capitol.

Durbin’s D.C. roommate and no. 3 Democratic leader Schumer serves as chairman of the Rules panel.

Durbin previously led an effort criticizing the organizer and broadcaster of the Golden Globe awards for allowing e-cigarettes to be displayed on camera at this year’s award ceremony, at one point saying actors like Leonardo DiCaprio were “killing” their fans by puffing on them. Last week, Harkin told reporters that questions about electronic cigarettes were among his priorities for the Food and Drug administration during his final year in the Senate, where he serves as chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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  1. Blood Bath

    Feb. 4, 2014
    8:18 p.m.

    Lies, I have in my possession three (3) studies done, each with affects of vapor to those around it. Nothing was found to be harmful. These studies can be found by ANYONE with half a brain to search for them since they were conducted in around 2011 and used BLU and NJOY type of e cigs. The most harmful thing found was silica deposits in the vapor, at very insignificant amounts, which would be from the wick. I just happen to use organic cotton for my wicks, and I do not use BLU or NJOY type of e cigs since they are both owned by big Tobacco which don’t care about anything but their bank accounts.

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    Feb. 4, 2014
    11:45 p.m.

    Don’t these nannys have something better to do….LIKE SPEND LESS!

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    Feb. 5, 2014
    8:11 a.m.

    So no evidence of harm to the Democrats means “evidence of harm?” Just how stupid must one BE to be a Democrat or other sort of control-freak?

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    5:38 p.m.

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