Proposed Bill Could Be the End of E-Cigarettes
Proposed Bill Could Be the End of E-Cigarettes

NEW YORK—Electronic cigarettes might soon be subject to heavy regulation, if certain proposals by the NYC Health Committee get passed. Though they do not contain tobacco, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) would be reclassified as tobacco products. Such restrictions could severely harm the marketability of electronic cigarettes, pushing many New Yorkers who use them to go back to the full toxic package.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) obtained a leaked copy of the proposal on August 7. If the proposal is accepted, it would reclassify “tobacco products” to include e-cigarettes and related components, it would ban the display of e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in retail stores, and ban the sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquid in flavors other than tobacco, menthol, mint and wintergreen in areas other than an age-restricted “tobacco bar.” New York City law prohibits tobacco bars opened after 2001. Under the new laws, even an e-cigarette store would be prohibited from selling flavored e-cigarettes.

The move comes after a meeting of the NYC Committee on Health on May 2, 2013, whereby an NYC Department of Health representative said the Department “Had no intention of trying to regulate e-cigarettes,” CASAA posted on its blog.

Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, told the Gothamist on August 9 that the bill is “basically telling a bunch of ex-smokers to go back to cigarettes, since virtually all electronic cigarettes are “flavored products” and thus subject to the sale ban.

The draft of the bill claims that to restrict the display of electronic cigarettes would keep the products away from youth and “prevent the emergence of a new generation that is addicted to nicotine.” According to the bill, the marketing of electronic cigarettes often “deter[s] smokers from quitting.”

But for many would-be smokers, electronic cigarettes are a safer, and in some cases life-saving alternative to the real thing, said Dr. Siegel. “I have no problems with this ordinance as a whole—raising the age, banning advertising.” But e-cigarettes are a product that’s literally saving people’s lives.”

The next meeting of the Health Committee is scheduled for August 22. Currently it is not known whether the ordinances will be voted on or not.

The Health Department did not comment on the draft.

“We are currently working on several tobacco bills with the Council. As part of any legislative process, there are various drafts and versions before a bill becomes final,” a spokesperson for the Health Committee said.

  • Brewlady

    This device was designed to allow adults to use nicotine without all of the harmful effects of inhaling burning tobacco. It’s safer for the people who use them, and the vapor poses no risk to bystanders. A study recently released by a Drexel University School of Public Health professor, Dr. Igor Burstyn, is the most recent in a growing list of studies proving their safety over traditional cigarettes. Adult smokers who don’t have the time to research e-cigs may think that these products aren’t safer simply because the ban is being considered. We already know that using an e-cig is 99% safer than continuing to smoke tobacco, but “public health” just ignores the smokers who would greatly benefit from truthful information about Tobacco Harm Reduction, which includes many products including e-cigs. Let’s make sure that these products aren’t sold to minors, but let’s also use some common sense. That’s probably too much to hope for considering who’s currently in charge of NYC. Perhaps some day the idea of freedom to make our own decisions won’t be just a distant memory.

  • Amanda Jane McGuire-Jones

    Think it’s bloody stupid – it’s only water & nicotine. Yes l can fully understand with the normal cigarettes – coz they are harmful and already bin proved that real cigs are more harmful. My dad, Auntie & uncle died of lung cancer from using normal cigs. And l as a smoker – even support the ban of smoking in public places & fully agree..

    But Electric cigs are just water with a bit of nicotine. Normal cigs are full of Toxic chemicals etc – but with Electric Cigs its only water & nicotine. People are only happy when their moaning. I use electric cig – there is no smell or a thing. You see steam but that’s a bout it. I can understand bout normal cigs – but Ecigs it’s only water and little bit of nicotine. It’s not a proper cig. It’s all these do gooders & health nuts which are only happy when they are moaning bout something.its not a real cig for Petes sake. Yes l can understand bout normal cigs.. Fair play.. Us smokers have agreed to smoking out doors – but let use our E-Cigs. This whole arguement is Stupid !! Ok let use e-cig users have one part in the pubs where we can use our e-cigs if we wish – and the non smokers have their parts and real cigs people do have 2 go out doors… I think there should be a fair way. Sorry but Electric cigs are not harmful what so ever.

    I say non smokers have certin parts, electric cig users have certin places and people that do use normal cigs – stay outside. People are only happy when their moaning bout something. It’s perthtic & petty.. Get over it already. Normal cigs l agree should remain out doors.. Coz the real cigs are more harmful – but electric cigs are just water, flavouring & nicotine. There is no smell, only harmful thing in the nicotine but real cigs are far worse.. Electric cigs are still healthier than real cigs by far. Real cigs are full of very very toxic chemicals.. Sorry but Electric Cigs are no threat composited to the real cigs..
    If l was a total non smoker – I would be more worried bout the real cigarettes than the Electric Cigs. Coz Electric Cigs are less as a threat. – real cigs are issue here – not Electric cigs a threat to anybody. My advice to people is – real cigarette are the issue here… Not Electric cigs. Get a grip & Get over it!!!! Seriously

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