E-cigarettes get trade organization

The e-cigarette industry is getting organized. Clear the Air Alaska, a trade association representing retailers in Alaska, announced its creation on Thursday.

In a statement, spokesman Tom Anderson wrote that the organization was created to “clarify and correct” statements of anti-tobacco, pro-tobacco and pro-cannabis advocates.

Electronic cigarettes vaporize small amounts of liquids that contain nicotine or a flavored substance. Marketed as a more healthy alternative to traditional smoking, e-cigarette vapor has nonetheless been determined to contain cancer-causing chemicals.

Those chemicals are present at much lower levels than traditional smoking, and studies are inconclusive as to whether e-cigarette use increases cancer risk.

In a recent speech, Alaska Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson said e-cigarettes “are just as harmful, and perhaps more harmful, than smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco.”

By email, Clear the Air executive director Acey Priest said she intends to speak with Davidson about the issue and will lobby the Legislature when the 2016 session begins.

In Alaska, e-cigarette use is on the rise, and Senate Bill 1, up for consideration in the Senate Finance Committee, would ban smoking — including e-cigarette use — in all public places statewide.

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