Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York City, has taken steps to ban vaping from indoor public spaces in the state in a move to bring the use of vaporizers in line with the use of traditional tobacco cigarettes. The new bill proposes to ban vaping in any indoor location where tobacco cigarettes are currently prohibited including bars, restaurants and workplaces, and there is less than a month until the ban comes into effect.
Changes to the Clean Indoor Air Act
The Clean Indoor Air Act has actually been in existence since 2003, when smoking in indoor public spaces was originally banned across New York state – a measure which was one of the first of its kind in the USA. Until this year, vaping has been exempt from the terms of this Act since neither tobacco nor combustion are involved in the process, however, this summer the State Assembly added e-cigs to the Act in a move to crack down on their public usage.
These changes look set to enrage the state’s vapers, especially since the popularity of vaping devices continues to grow year on year. The vaping industry is now worth $2.5 billion a year and is increasing steadily in the wake of expert reports which advocate switching to vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking.
Despite burgeoning medical evidence that vaping is a viable way of quitting the tobacco habit, New York State appears to be fiercely against their use, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opinion that there are still causes for concern surrounding the use of e-cigarettes due to the current lack of understanding around the potential health consequences and the possibility of nicotine addiction.
Cuomo is recorded as stating that, while e-cigs are marked as a more healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes, the reality is that they carry a long term risk, not only to users’ health, but also the well-being of those around them. By taking this latest action against their public use, Cuomo purports to close a dangerous legal loophole to create a healthier and stronger New York for its residents.
New York Vs. The Vaping Phenomenon
This is not the first move that the state have made against public vaping. In 2016, the New York State Department of Health carried out a study which revealed that 20% of children in the state had tried vaping – twice the number from two years before. As a response, the state banned e-cigarettes from all school property.
70% of New York State’s municipalities have already got bans on their books, and New York City have already had a ban in place for years – it was 2013 when vaping was first included in the Smoke Free Air Act. E-cig manufacturers have not let the ban lie, and have mounted a number of legal challenges on the grounds that e-cigarettes are not covered by the Act since they emit no smoke.
However, the New York State Court of Appeals rejected their latest challenge earlier this year finding that the inclusion was valid after all on the grounds that restricting e-cig usage protects the public from exposure to emissions while also preventing children from being reeled into a lifetime nicotine addiction.
New York Vaper Opinion
While the movers and shakers in the vaping industry in the state are up in arms about the latest changes in the law, the opinion of local vapers is yet to be determined. However, according to owners of vaping stores around the state, the new rules are deemed to be unnecessary, since the problem of vaping in public indoor spaces is minimal anyway.
With the majority of New York’s vapers having a considerate attitude towards others when it comes to using their devices, the chances of finding someone sitting in a restaurant or bar, or shopping in a mall while vaping is already small.
This latest crackdown may therefore seem to be yet another unwarranted move of the state against those who are trying to opt for a healthier way of delivering nicotine in an effort to improve their lives and well-being, and potentially a move that flies in the face of progress.