New York Taking Egregious Acton Against Vaping
The New York state legislature has voted to ban vape products from bars, restaurants, and indoor workplaces, striking a blow to smokers who have recently switched to vaping in order to kick the habit.
New York Daily News is reporting that the measure, which had previously been dropped from the state’s budget in April, was unanimously approved by the Republican-led Senate on Monday and was then also approved by the Democrat-led Assembly earlier today. The measure, which is an amendment to the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2003, would place vape products in the same category as traditional cigarettes and ban them in the same places smoking is also already banned in the state.
The Clean Indoor Air Act of 2003, which can be read in full here, was drafted to protect all workers from second-hand smoke; it banned smoking from all workplaces, including restaurants, bars, hospitals, indoor arenas, schools, zoos, and more. It set the standard for regulations for the entire state, although some municipalities and cities have enforced even stricter laws when it comes to smoking.
New York state has been at the forefront of restricting vape products for years now, with its Smoke-Free Air Act being one of the most restrictive in the country, including refusing to sell tobacco or vape products to anyone under the age of 21.
The Smoke-Free Air Act, also known as SFAA, went into effect on March 30, 2003, and was the precursor to the Clean Indoor Act, which was enacted a mere three months later. SFAA has similar restrictions on smoking, providing the country with the first restrictive ban on smoking in workplaces. It is still in effect today and continues to support later tobacco restriction acts.
With the rise in popularity of vaping, it makes sense that those who are not informed about how vaping works or why it could be considered a smoking cessation method would be against it. Even though several studies have shown the efficacy of the product when used to help smokers quit, many politicians and lawmakers still feel it is their duty to ban vaping wherever possible.
But state politicians are not the only ones who feel the ban is important: New Yorkers seem to feel that vaping is just as bad as smoking traditional cigarettes.
PIX11 went interviewed people in New York state to get feedback and found that some residents feel that there’s no difference between tobacco products and vape products.
A city sanitation worker by the name of Joe told reporters that: “It’s a good idea to ban it. Whether it’s a cigarette or e-cigarrette (sic). It’s the same.”
Lucy Fleming, who works in Astoria, told reporters that the ban doesn’t faze her, as her workplace has already mandated its own policy on vaping. She stated that: “I work at Memorial Sloan Kettering. They don’t let anyone smoke outside because they say there haven’t been enough long-term studies to see what the effects of e-cigarettes are on you.”
Although the measure was removed from the state budget in April, the anti-vaping advocates did not give up the fight. This week, they got their chance to see the measure become law after both the Senate and Assembly voted to send it to the Governor’s desk.
“This is a common-sense measure that will protect the health of our children and our hospitality workers,” Julie Hart, state director of the American Cancer Society’s lobbying arm, said in a statement that was delivered to Press Connects.
The sentiment relayed by Hart is one that is shared by many legislators, most of which point to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statement that teens are using vape products more than other forms of tobacco. This statement implies that teens who use vape products are in just as much danger from a health standpoint as teens who just smoke cigarettes.
It is important to note that the CDC utilizes the 2016 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report as its main argument for this assertion, which has already been discredited in medical circles for its neglect in properly measuring its results.
The report, which has been criticized by experts and activists alike, compared data from surveys done over a period of five years to come up with its findings. When taken at face value, the report seems to indicate that yes, more teens are vaping than ever before. It also seems to indicate that a large majority of teens who experimented with vaping in their teen years continue to be regular users as they get older.
However, when the report is scrutinized, a number of issues become glaringly obvious, including the fact that the report categorizes vape products as tobacco products, even though the only common ingredient is nicotine, which is naturally derived from tobacco. But even nicotine can now be synthetically engineered, erasing any possible similarities between the two products.
The other major issue that this publication continues to raise is the failure of the report to categorize and measure vape and tobacco use accurately. Not only were the participants in the study used to create the report not asked about their daily vape and tobacco habits prior to the beginning of the study, they were not asked how often they smoke or vape after the study, or even if they used vape products that contained nicotine.
In fact, many teens report using nicotine-free vape liquids for the flavor alone and some studies, such as one conducted in Wales, points to the fact that smoking and vaping is down among teens because they understand the dangers that come with inhaling nicotine on a daily basis.
The measure in New York, however, has passed and will go to the Governor’s desk for a signature in the coming week.
If vape advocates are hopeful that Governor Andrew Cuomo will quash the bill, this publication can report that it is not likely: Cuomo has previously pledged the support for a vape ban and had proposed the initial measure back in January. He is expected to sign the bill later this week; the ban will go into effect 30 days after it is signed.