New Yorkers escape the vape

Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law this week adding e-cigarettes to the list of tobacco products prohibited from being used indoors under the Clean Indoor Air Act.

On Monday, Cuomo signed legislation (S.2543-a /A.516-a) that attaches the various forms of electronic smoking devices to traditional tobacco products as part of the state’s smoking ban, effectively prohibiting their use indoors and in public places.

“These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them,” Cuomo said. “This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

The policy includes all, but is not limited to, electronic nicotine and vapor delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, vaping pens, and e-hookahs.

The amendment to the Clean Indoor Air Act follows Cuomo’s mid-summer signing of legislation that banned the use of e-cigarettes on all public and private school grounds. Towns, cities and villages across New York have already passed similar laws limiting the use of e-cigarettes, as well as nine other states and Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, the new bill has earned the support of the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Lung Association.

“Closing the e-cigarette loophole by including it in the Clean Indoor Air Act is a long-overdue step that will help protect every New Yorker’s right to enjoy indoor public spaces free from intrusion of e-cigarette vapor,” Assemblywoman Rosenthal said.

Jeff Seyler, Executive Vice President of the Northeast Region of the American Lung Association sees the established law as an important protection of public health. The restriction also lessens the exposure of New York’s youth population to adverse health affects.

“With recent reports showing their use among minors increasing, New York must continue to work to regulate these devices in a common sense manner,” said Hannon, the Senate health Committee chair.

In 2017, over 28 percent of New York high school students currently use tobacco products and e-cigarettes are proving to be just another tool reeling them into a dangerous and often lifetime of addiction to nicotine,” Seyler said.

Studies conducted by The Centers for Disease Control have identified e-cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among young people.

Other than the obvious nicotine, e-cigarettes contain carcinogens, pesticides and formaldehyde, as well as other dangerous chemicals, according to a 2015 study by Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Those dangerous chemicals are found in the second-hand e-cigarette emissions. Patrons of public areas including transportation centers, bars, restaurants, sporting events and concerts have been increasingly at risk of breathing in those carcinogens, until now.