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Legislature bans e-cigarettes indoors, bill goes to Cuomo

ALBANY _ Electronic cigarettes would be banned indoors in public spaces the same as traditional tobacco cigarettes under a bill that gained final legislative approval Tuesday.

Approved overwhelmingly by the Legislature, the bill would make “e-cigarettes” subject to the Clean Indoor Air Act, prohibiting them from being smoked at bars, restaurants and other public spaces.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill into law. He had proposed the measure in his budget earlier this year.

Anti-smoking groups applauded the Legislature’s action.

“Kids in New York are using e-cigarettes at record levels,” the American Cancer Society Action Network said in a statement. “This legislation will protect New Yorkers from second-hand exposure to nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals found in these products.”

The bill, sponsored by Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and Assmb. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), targets the devices that heat liquid nicotine and emit a vapor. The bill cites federal Food and Drug Administration reports that show electronic cigarettes are dangerous because users inhale carcinogens and toxic chemicals.

Many restaurants, bars and other commercial and public places have already banned e-cigarettes, but the private and local government measures have lacked the power of state law and were more subject to legal challenges.

New York previously banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 years old, but the sponsors said the use of the devices has proliferated among youths.

“The legislation will make it easier to enforce current restrictions on tobacco smoking in public places and protect nonsmokers from the noxious plumes emitted by e-cigarettes,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

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