As one of his final acts in office New York City’s departing Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation that amends the City’s Smoke-Free Air Act – a law that bans smoking in public places, including restaurants, bars, parks, beaches and places of employment – so that it extends to the use of e-cigs, a practice commonly referred to as “vaping.” With the new law, vaping is prohibited in any place where smoking is banned.
New York City Council passed the measure in December, voting 43-8 to send the broadened restrictions to Mayor Bloomberg to sign into law. A couple of months earlier, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time advocate of strict smoking laws, also endorsed the City Council’s move to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products and e-cigs from 18 to 21. He signed the bill in November. The e-cig ban will take effect onApril 29th, 2014.
Where You Can Vape in NYC
In New York City, vaping will still be allowed in areas where smoking is permitted such as street corners, doorways and sidewalks that are directly outside of office buildings and bars. Retail e-cig stores and vaping lounges presently remain exempt from the law. In addition, you still have the freedom to vape in the privacy of your own home.
The impact of the new law will have little immediate effect on vaping lounges, the establishments where people can vape indoors. As the vaping scene grows in popularity, it is projected that vaping lounges will continue to open in New York City.
The Future of Vaping
The controversial legislation signed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has people on both sides of the issue talking. The debate centers around the uncertainty about the effects e cigs and the infringement on individual freedom. Now that Chicago has followed suit and Los Angeles is poised to follow, the topic of vaping in public is on the agenda of major US cities.
Are e-cigs just like conventional cigarettes? This is the outstanding question. E-cig do contain nicotine; however, unlike a traditional tobacco cigarette, an e-cig does not produce second hand smoke, a harmful byproduct that is known to affect non-smokers who are exposed to it. Instead, an e-cig releases a vapor, which dissipates comparatively quickly. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that proves a person who vapes can harm bystanders with the vapor produced by e-cigs. E-cigs are definitely healthier relative to conventional cigs!
Opponents of the law claims that by restricting e-cigs in the same way tobacco cigarettes are regulated are not necessary. Because no evidence has been established that “second-hand vapor” poses a health risk, some people who vape are wary, stating the regulations restrict the personal choice and freedom to vape.
One of the major benefits of e-cigs is the freedom and convenience to vape in public spaces, making them appealing to smokers. Some former smokers, who have successfully quit conventional cigarettes with e-cigs, have voiced their concerns that if there are restrictions, people who want to quit smoking may not have the same incentive to try the smoking alternative. However, the use of e-cigs as a viable smoking cessation aid has yet to be scientifically proven, so these personal success stories are considered largely anecdotal by proponents of banning laws.
E-cigs are still relatively new, growing in popularity every year. If you are a smoker or vaper, stay informed about the legislation that may affect you so that you can have a voice!