Norton Bill Banning E-Cigarette Smoking on Amtrak on House Floor, Monday
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said that her Banning Smoking on Amtrak Act of 2019 (H.R. 2726), which would codify Amtrak’s internal policy prohibiting smoking, including of electronic cigarettes, on trains will be considered on the House floor on Monday. The bill is modeled after another bill Norton got enacted into law in 2018 that clarified that the smoking ban on airplanes includes electronic cigarettes. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. This is Norton’s fifth bill to be considered on the House floor this year, and Norton has already passed four bills in the House in 2019.
“Although Amtrak has implemented its own policy banning smoking on trains, that policy could be reversed if not codified,” Norton said. “My bill would make this ban a matter of federal law and put the force of law behind protecting people from harmful secondhand smoke and its proven detrimental health effects. My bill will remind my colleagues of the countless lives lost during the decades that it took states to ban smoking in public areas. We should not make the same mistake again by delaying banning electronic cigarettes in the close quarters typical of trains.”
Tobacco smoking bans have been a critical tool in protecting people from the effects of secondhand smoke, known to increase the risk for serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema, among others. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the tobacco epidemic to be one of the most serious public health threats in the world, killing more than seven million people a year. According to the WHO, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. It is likely the effects of secondhand exposure to electronic cigarettes is harmful as well.