Legislators are not always above using the occasional prop to make a point — see, for example, the senator who recently enlisted the shruggie. But in what's perhaps a new high for lawmakers, a Congressman today started vaping in the middle of a discussion about anti-vaping legislation.
California Rep. Duncan Hunter took a drag during a debate over a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee amendment to ban vaping on planes. As USA Today reports, the ban ultimately passed, but not before Hunter weighed in. "This is the future," Hunter told the assembled group of lawmakers, encouraging them to vote against the amendment "for freedom's sake."
Hunter made some comments that health scientists and others would likely quibble with, claiming that "we don't have all the information" but saying vaping could be used to help smokers quit and may be much healthier than smoking. (He's long been on record as pro-vape, once saying that "e-cigarettes are a suitable alternative to cigarettes, and they could very well save my life.")
The FDA has said that, because of lack scientific evidence, "consumers currently don’t know the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended, how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or whether there are any benefits associated with using these products."
As of writing, the meeting is still being live-streamed and is embedded below.