Smoking Rates Increase in New York After E-Cigs are Banned

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After investing a lot of time and energy into fighting against big tobacco during his time as mayor, Mike Bloomberg must be fuming over the latest health reports. In 2010, only 14 percent of New York residents were smokers, but the latest data shows that number is now up to 16.1 percent. So what has caused the sudden spike in tobacco use for the Big Apple? It could be directly related to ecig bans that were implemented earlier this year.

In April, New York adopted an amendment to the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2002 to include electronic cigarettes in all public smoking bans. Once vaping was prohibited indoors and in all public venues, former smokers lost some motivation to stick with ecigs and it appears that some may be turning back to cigarettes. If they are forced to vape in the cold, why not just smoke a cigarette? While that is a terrible choice for health, it’s an unfortunate decision that many are making. This is a disaster for public health and it’s a lesson that other cities need to take seriously as they determine how to handle vaping.

Of course, New York’s health officials refuse to acknowledge the ecig bans are contributing to the problem. Instead, they blame cuts to the anti-smoking programs and advertising campaigns. They also blame outdated methodologies that do little to deter today’s casual young adult smokers. “I think you are seeing a really different smoking population, and that means we need to talk to them,” said deputy city health commissioner Christine Johnson Curtis.

In response to the now rising smoking rates, New York officials plan to launch new anti-tobacco campaigns that will target young adults with a message about the dangers of even “light” smoking. Will this really be effective?

Perhaps a better strategy would be to stop treating electronic cigarettes as the enemy. They offer a feasible alternative for smokers that are willing to forego tobacco if ecigs are permissible. When cigarettes are outlawed in bars, why not allow ecigs instead? This will encourage smokers to go tobacco free by vaping so they can continue to get a quick nicotine fix without going outdoors. There is now adequate research to prove that secondhand vapor is harmless. With no real risk involved, it is ludicrous to continue banning vaping in public places.

Will we start to see smoking rates increase in other cities that have banned public vaping?

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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6 Responses

  1. Robert Innes says:

    Make no mistake, Public health DO NOT WANT smoking rates to fall any further and the quicker we realise this the better.

  2. Kate says:

    What a concept …. “talk to the smokers”. Maybe we wouldn’t have the current crisis if more policy makers took that tiny little step.

    Dictating what people are allowed to do to quit tobacco isn’t going to work. That should have been understood upfront. But it’s not too late.

  3. eric says:

    I just quit smoking by vaping. I love vaping. I also totally disagree with one of your arguments and find you mainly use hyperbole and fallacy to argue a weak premise. Correlation is not causation. So yeah, let’s not go around shouting that enacting these anti-ecig laws caused the smoking rate to rise. It’s possible, but let’s wait for more data.

    “With no real risk involved, it is ludicrous to continue banning vaping in public places.”

    Also, I don’t really want to live in a world where anyone can come into any place they want with a 26650 mech mod with dripper and sit there chasing clouds all day, like my work. I think there should be some regulations. Just because vapor doesn’t harm second hand doesn’t mean everyone won’t mind immersed in your vapor fragrance in a bar either. It is not ludicrous, it is something that needs to be looked at carefully and be implemented with a little more nuance than an outright ban.

  4. Penny Poo says:

    Of course if they ban vaping, people will go back to smoking because they will have no other ”effective” alternative.

  5. TJ says:

    “If they are forced to vape in the cold, why not just smoke a cigarette? ”

    I live in Upstate NY and that statement there makes no sense and is BS! A person vapes because they want something safer. A person vapes because it is cheaper for them. A person vapes because they don’t want to smell like an ash tray. A person vapes to get away from the tar. A person vapes to feel healthier and to try get off nicotine! list some of the reasons.

    So it has gone up 2% since 2010 huh and you really think in 6 months since the e-cig ban that people are going to say..Screw It! I am going back to analogs!..and increase that much! Pfffffffffffffft! C’mon! use some logic here!

    Don’t use the ban as the cause because you will look like a fool especially when the article states it has been increasing BEFORE the ban…”After bottoming in 2010, the rate climbed to 14.8% in 2011 and to 15.5% in 2012 before surpassing 16% in 2013.”

    My opinion? People finding smokes at the Res to avoid paying that NY $5 tax on packs! $10 for a pack of Marbs or $2 a pack for Senecas??

  6. C. B. says:

    How is it possible that vapers are some of the most vindictive and uninformed when it comes to actual facts? Many former vapers go back to smoking when there are obstacles set deliberately in their way. There are studies showing that vaping bans increase the rates of smoking for cities that enact these idiotic policies. Personally I didn’t start vaping because I want or need to “get off nicotine.”
    Nicotine is not addictive without tobacco.

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