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Group Of Lawmakers Wants E-Cigarettes Banned In U.S. Capitol

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A group of U.S. senators is trying to rid the Capitol building of e-cigarettes.

Just a few years ago the ornate Speaker's Lobby just off the House floor — where reporters huddle and politicians horse trade — was filled with clouds of cigarette smoke. Now even House Speaker John Boehner has to step outside on the balcony to get a smoke, though he still smokes in his office and in closed door meetings, much to the chagrin of health advocates.

Now some lawmakers, including Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, want the cigarette ban at the Capitol to be extended to electronic cigarettes.

"The nation's capital should be sending a positive public health message, that smoking is dangerous and destructive and e-cigarettes aren't a solution, they are simply — in many instances — a way of prolonging and avoiding a problem," he says.

Blumenthal and six of his Democratic colleagues contend that even though e-cigarettes aren't regulated by the FDA as tobacco products are, they still pose a health risk because they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals.

The industry argues the vapor produced from e-cigarettes is different than the potentially deadly second hand smoke from regular cigarettes.

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