CCAR Resolution on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

Central Conference of American Rabbis Resolution on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

June 17, 2015

WHEREAS several Reform Responsa have recognized the responsibility of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) as it relates to cigarette smoking and have affirmed the Halakhic (Jewish legal) ban on smoking;[1] and

WHEREAS the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) has twice adopted resolutions affirming the responsibility to speak out against the health hazards of smoking;[2] and

WHEREAS studies have shown that new forms of nicotine delivery systems, such as electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs” or “vapes”), while potentially useful in smoking cessation programs and potentially less harmful than standard cigarettes, still provide substantial health risks, which are often masked by studies shown to have been conducted by industry-supported labs or others with conflict of interest; [3] and

WHEREAS electronic cigarettes are delivery systems for nicotine, which is both addictive[4] and hazardous to health[5]; and

WHEREAS industry marketing has erroneously presented electronic cigarettes as a “safe” alternative to cigarette smoking; and

WHEREAS state and federal regulations have not consistently required accurate health warnings or prevention of marketing to children; and

WHEREAS flavored products for electronic cigarettes are often marketed to and made available to minors;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Central Conference of American Rabbis supports state and federal regulations to control the marketing and use of electronic cigarettes, flavorings, and other nicotine delivery systems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CCAR supports and will advocate for federal and state legislation to ban the marketing of these products to minors and the use of these products by minors; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CCAR encourages its members to advocate that non-smoking policies in the institutions our members serve be clarified to include electronic nicotine delivery systems; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CCAR urges its members and affiliates, including but not limited to Union for Reform Judaism youth programs, to educate their communities about the harmful impact of using e-cigarettes and similar products.

[1] Contemporary American Reform Responsa, 13. A Ban on Smoking in the Synagogue – December 1985 –  CCAR Responsa – Responsum on Smoking 5753.23 (1993)-


[2] SMOKING, Adopted by the CCAR at the 96th Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis 1985,  ENDORSING THE PROPOSED FDA SMOKING REGULATIONS , Adopted by the 107th Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis March, 1996,


[3] A Systematic Review of Health Effects of Electronic Cigarettes, Preventive Medicine, Vol. 69, December 2014, Pages 248-260;

[4] Tobacco Legal Consortium, The Verdict Is In:  Findings from United States v. Philip Morris, 2006.

[5] Sabha M, Tanus-Santos JE, Toledo JC, Cittadino M, Rocha JC, Moreno H (August 2000). “Transdermal nicotine mimics the smoking-induced endothelial dysfunction”. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 68 (2): 167–74. doi:10.1067/mcp.2000.108851. PMID 10976548;  Zhang S, Day I, Ye S (February 2001). “Nicotine induced changes in gene expression by human coronary artery endothelial cells”. Atherosclerosis 154 (2): 277–83. doi:10.1016/S0021-9150(00)00475-5. PMID 11166759; Hawkins BT, Brown RC, Davis TP (February 2002). “Smoking and ischemic stroke: a role for nicotine?”. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 23 (2): 78–82. doi:10.1016/S0165-6147(02)01893-X. PMID 11830264.