President shortcircuits those electronic cigarettes

Expats who have turned to electronic cigarettes to comply with the country’s new, tough anti-smoking laws will be unhappy to learn that these devices, too, are being lumped with traditional tobacco products.

The law passed by the Asamblea Legislativa does not really address the issue, so some smokers have been promoting electronic cigarettes as away to get around the ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and casinos.

The electronic cigarette sometimes is modeled to appear like a traditional one. The plastic tube contains a battery, an atomizer and a cartridge filled with nicotine. When a user inhales, the battery ignites the atomize and water vapor filled with nicotine enters the mouth. When the user exhales, the water vapor that is emitted looks a lot like cigarette smoke.

The new regulations that were drawn up to complement the law specifically prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes anywhere tobacco cigarettes are forbidden.

The 49-page document of rules originated in Casa Presidencial. The regulations specifically forbid tobacco products that give off smoke, gases or vapor in whatever form. Included with electronic cigarettes are water pipes, also known as hookahs.

Electronic cigarette fans claim the vapor is just water free of the tars and other chemicals that make smoking a health hazard.

Electronic cigarettes are being touted as healthier choices than a tobacco product. Even some U.S. medical groups have said that electronic cigarettes are a better choice than tobacco products that emit a smoke with all kinds of cancer-causing agents.

Internet accounts generally favor the electronic cigarette. One graphic video shows an animation of a woman struggling for breath in a hospital room.

A voiceover says that electronic cigarettes will not cause emphezima and other respiratory ills associated with the tobacco variety.

A.M. Costa Rica featured electronic cigarettes in a news story in mid-April; when it appeared that the electronic devices would be permitted.

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