Electronic cigarette users in New York often find themselves in dicey situations. While the state does not explicitly ban vaping in places where smoking is prohibited, many nonsmokers assume that’s the way it should be. This has resulted in a lot of disputes in the past year and now lawmakers are a critical point where they have to figure out how they will deal with the growing interest in ecigs.
Bronson Frick, the associate director of the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation believes ecigs should be banned in all public places. He said, “It’s more than a nuisance; it can be a health hazard.” Yet he didn’t offer any real proof to back his claims and many others argue that ecigs are actually a good harm reduction strategies for smokers who want to quit.
Across the state, there are numerous different rules about vaping, but it changes from location to location. “What we really need is a uniform regulation, but you’re seeing this patchwork because the state hasn’t acted,” said Bill Sherman, VP for government relations at the American Cancer Society. “It’s our top priority (in New York). We’ve got an 18-member coalition lobbying the Assembly and the Senate now, and we think there’s a 65 to 75 percent chance they’ll act before they adjourn next week.”
New York’s vape shops aren’t too worried at this point. There is a mounting interest in vaping and they believe ecigs are here to stay. Smokes4Less Manager John Panessa said, “E-cigarettes are cheaper, since they aren’t taxed the same as tobacco cigarettes – which is going to change, for sure. And then we’ve sold a lot of starter kits as gifts for family members and friends to encourage them to quit smoking.”
The Orange County deputy health commissioner Chris Ericson said ecigs are a constant headache for local lawmakers. People call regularly with questions about why people are allowed to vape or why they aren’t allowed to use ecigs in some places. Ericson said the bottom line is that ecigs are not included in New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act so unless city officials ban them, they are allowed. “The law refers to the burning of tobacco products – pipes, cigars, cigarettes,” said Ericson. “So the question is – are e-cigarettes tobacco?”
What do you think… she ecigs be treated as tobacco products? Should you be allowed to vape in public areas?