California Congressman Duncan Hunter must’ve planned it. You just know that Thursday’s in-session legislative vaping was showtime after long rehearsals in his office, drawing his vape out in front of the mirror: Not too fast, not too slow, just as smooth as a pull of Watermelon Wave juice. Then blow like Miles Davis. That’s right babies, Hunter thinks, probably. Premeditated.
Such is the backstory you might invent for Hunter’s too-cool-for-Congress move as legislators discussed an amendment to ban vaping on airplanes.
“This is a personal vaporizer. We don’t call them electronic cigarettes anymore because we don’t call them cigarettes,” Hunter said. “They have propylene glycol, flavoring, and water in them. It is not an e-cigarette. It doesn’t even look like a cigarette.”
Anyway, totally uncool lawmakers like Oregon’s Peter DeFazio worried that the jury is still out on vaping’s health effects, plus it would be really annoying to neighboring passengers whose monocles would get slicked over with vape condensation, so we should probably keep them off planes. That’s regardless of young people’s love of vaping as 1 in 5 Millennials have reportedly tried an e-cigarette or the like at least once.
In DeFazio’s defense, vaping may not be quite as bad for you as you’ve heard and it’s definitely better for you than smoking, which is what led Duncan to proclaim his love for the juice two months ago. Then again, a National Institute of Health study found that vapers showed the same suppression of key immune system genes as smokers suffer, leading to impaired immune responses in the lungs.
While most airlines already ban vaping, it’s not strictly illegal, yet. As Jason Rabinowitz notes, the session ended with the amendment being upheld despite Hunter’s extremely proactive opinion of vaping. Maybe he should have worn sunglasses or a fedora to complete the look. It’s a fine line to walk, politics.