Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will ban the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds.
The bill (S.750/A.611) will immediately amend the public health law to prohibit electronic cigarettes from public and private school grounds throughout the state.
The new legislation is meant to diminish youth access to electronic cigarettes and nicotine in general. It is part of a wider effort to prevent childhood and teenage smoking.
“Nicotine use in any form has shown to be damaging to teens and this measure will close a dangerous loophole that allows e-cigarettes to be used in New York schools,” said Cuomo. “This measure will further this administration’s efforts to combat teen smoking in all its forms and help create a stronger, healthier New York for all.”
“School grounds” includes any buildings, structures or outdoor area contained within school property as well as any vehicles used to transport students or school personnel.
The law applies to all public and private nursery schools, pre-schools, elementary schools, and secondary schools.
The legislation was introduced by Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, back in January.
“Keeping our youth safe is a top priority, and by banning e-cigarettes on all school grounds,” said Ritchie. “The Governor is helping in our efforts to establish healthier, stronger communities for our children to learn, grow and excel in. I am proud to support this new legislation to ban these toxic habits, as we protect the well-being of the next generation of leaders for the Empire State.”
In March, the New York State Department of Health reported that although cigarette smoking has declined 84 percent among high school students between 2000 and 2016, electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) use doubled from 10.5 to 20.6 percent between 2014 and 2016.
ENDS are now the most commonly used tobacco product for youth and young adults.
A recent Surgeon General’s report found that e-cigarette use among high school students has risen 900 percent nationally between 2011 and 2015.
The Surgeon General has reported that no form of tobacco use is safe and that nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and damage the developing brain.