Democratic lawmakers are pushing for new restrictions treating vaping devices like traditional cigarettes, limiting where the devices can be used.
The proposal, which passed through the state Senate Monday, amends New York’s Indoor Clean Air Act to include electronic cigarettes. Under the new rules, e-cigarettes are viewed no differently than any other tobacco product, despite research showing the devices eliminate up to 95 percent of the risks associated with smoking, reports WIVB.
The legislation expands the state ban on vaping in certain areas to include restaurants, bars, offices and any other public, indoor space. Vaping advocates are slamming state Democrats over the bill, which they argue will dissuade adult smokers from using the devices to quit.
“Every time New York State lumps vaping together with smoking, they are basically telling the smokers it is the same thing, don’t bother, and it is not not the same thing,” Andrew Osborne, vice president of the New York State Vaping Association, told WIVB. “Vaping is a breakthrough technology that smokers can use to literally save their own life.”
Vaping advocates say the devices offer smokers a viable way to reduce health risks to themselves and those around them. Major health groups in England, like the Royal College of Physicians, agree that using e-cigarettes eliminates most of the harms attributed to smoking. They also recommend vaping to patients trying to quit traditional tobacco products.
Despite the positive research, officials in states throughout the U.S. continue to restrict the practice. Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill to ban all flavored electronic cigarette products for adults in New Jersey, claiming they entice kids to smoke.
The legislation, which is currently being reviewed by committees in both the state Assembly and Senate, only allows the sale of tobacco, menthol and clove flavors for vaping products.
Critics of vaping in New York previously failed to include an expansion of vaping restrictions in the state’s 2017 budget, which passed in April. The provision was pulled from the budget at the last minute, as was a 10-cents-per-milliliter tax on liquid nicotine.
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