Democrats in New York City are enacting new restrictions on vapor products that classify the devices as tobacco, suggesting they are just as harmful as cigarettes.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign into law Monday legislation curtailing where vapers can use their products in the name of improving overall public health in the city. The bill, which passed in the legislature in June, will ban the use of e-cigarettes in a number of public settings including restaurants, bars and workplaces, according to the New York Daily News.
The legislation amends New York’s Indoor Clean Air Act to include e-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.
“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 told New York Daily News. “This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”
Vaping advocates are slamming state Democrats over the bill, which they argue will dissuade adult smokers from using the devices to quit. The products deliver nicotine to the user, not tobacco, reducing the harm to themselves and largely eliminating second-hand risks.
“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, previously told WIVB. “Vaping is a breakthrough technology that smokers can use to literally save their own life.”
Experts in the field of tobacco control note that restrictive laws on alternative smoking technologies are actually keeping people hook on cigarettes.
The R Street Institute, a free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C., argues in a report published Oct. 16 policies that falsely conflate nicotine-based devices with tobacco products will result in less smokers ditching the habit for alternative, and safer, technologies.
A University of California study released July 26 showed a record number of Americans are ditching cigarettes with the aid of vaping devices. The rate of Americans quitting smoking jumped from 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 5.6 percent between 2014 and 2015.
That means roughly 350,000 smokers gave up the habit between 2014 and 2015.
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