Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Chair of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee Linda Rosenthal today announced the passage of legislation that would treat electronic cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes. Currently, electronic cigarettes are not subject to tobacco laws since they do not contain tobacco.
"We have already recognized the many significant health risks associated with tobacco use," said Speaker Heastie. "These measures acknowledge the risks that electronic cigarettes pose to the public, and especially our youth. Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine - which we already know to be addictive - and countless other potentially harmful chemicals that need to be treated as such."
The measure would ban the use of electronic cigarettes in certain indoor areas with the exception of e-cigarette retail shops (A.5955-B). Under the proposal, e-cigarettes would be treated the same as tobacco cigarettes in regards to indoor use and public use. In May, the FDA finalized a rule extending its authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. This bill aims to protect individuals from potentially harmful effects of the vapor they emit.
"With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, particularly among young people, it is crucial that we take action to protect the next generation against the dangers of smoking," said Assemblymember Rosenthal, prime sponsor of the bill. "Including e-cigarettes in the Clean Indoor Air Act will close the loophole that allows e-cigarette use indoors where the use of all other tobacco products is prohibited. This measure will help to protect the public and will ensure that years of advocacy to make smoking taboo are not undone."