ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill into law Monday that will ban the vaping of e-cigarettes — just like smoking of traditional cigarettes, cigars and pipes — in public places under the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, a spokesman said
“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 said in a statement on Monday. “This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law.”
The bill is the latest passed by the State Legislature to combat the rise in e-cigarettes and vaping by youths and in public places including bars, said Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City).
“It will be a rule subjecting e-cigs to the Clean Indoor Air Act that provides of balance of being able to enjoy clean air in their restaurants and workplace, and still allows people who want to partake in e-cigarettes in their own homes,” Hannon said in an interview.
He said the bill was pushed primarily as a way to “help people who want to enjoy their food or office without being intruded upon.”
Adding e-cigarettes, including vaping pens and e-hookahs, to the 14-year-old Clean Indoor Act comes as the new devices became more popular. Supporters of e-cigarettes said that there isn’t sufficient proof the devices, which are legal, are a health threat, and that they could be used by some smokers trying to quit traditional tobacco products.
“Smoking bans, sold on the idea of alleged harm to nonsmokers from the ambient cigarette smoke of smokers, are being revealed to be cover for social engineering instead,” said Audrey Silk, founder of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, or CLASH. “Bans of a legal product to thwart not only use but the sight of it conscripts unwilling free citizens into advocacy groups’ wars and is government censorship at its worst.”
In July, Cuomo signed into law a ban on e-cigarettes anywhere on school grounds as surveys showed a spike in use of e-cigarettes by youths too young to buy cigarettes. The measure bans e-cigarettes in any building, structure, and outdoor grounds in public and private preschools and other schools through high school. The law also bans the use of e-cigarettes in any vehicle used to transport children or school personnel.
Hannon said a pending bill would require the sellers of e-cigarettes to register with the state the same way sellers of traditional products must. He said that would be a way to crack down on sales of e-cigarettes to youths.