A GOP Congressman vaped his opposition to a ban on using e-cigarettes on airplanes Thursday but his argument went up in smoke.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) took a long pull from his device and blew out a small cloud during a Transportation & Infrastructure Committee bill markup hearing. He tried but failed to block the panel’s adoption of Washington, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s in-flight vaping ban.
“So. This is called a vaporizer,” Hunter said as audience members laughed and a congresswoman sitting next to him fanned away the fumes.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) spoke out against an in-flight vaping ban by smoking his e-cigarette during a hearing.
He continued, “There’s no combustion. There’s no carcinogens. What the gentlelady did not say is smoking has gone down as the use of vaporizers has gone up. There is no burning. There’s nothing noxious about this whatsoever.”
He went on, describing vaporizers as potential inhalers for the “medicine of the future” and asking his colleagues to block the ban “for freedom’s sake,” The Washington Post reported. The committee added Holmes’ amendment to a pending aviation bill anyways, and most major airlines already forbid vaping on their planes.
Hunter has credited vaping with helping him quit smoking.
Hunter is a former Marine whose district includes a large swath of Southern California east of San Diego. Representatives for the Congressman didn’t immediately respond to a request to know whether he plans to pursue action against the ban on the House floor.
Hunter wrote an op-ed in The Hill in December against a proposed Food and Drug Administration rule that would regulate e-cigarettes.
“Yes, I vape. On occasion, I might even smoke a real cigarette,” Duncan wrote. “Through my military career, including three combat tours, I even experienced chewing tobacco. Now that I vape, does it mean I am one step closer to dying than say, someone who might drink too much, eat too much red meat or live an all-around unhealthy lifestyle? No way.”
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