Nov. 27 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports legislation introduced in the New York City Council to include electronic cigarettes in the city’s clean indoor air law.
This legislation will further the fundamental purpose of the law – to protect everyone’s right to breathe clean, healthy air in workplaces and public places. It will protect non-users from possible health risks posed by e-cigarette emissions. E-cigarettes currently are unregulated, and there has been very limited research about their health consequences either for users or non-users exposed to their emissions.
In addition, including e-cigarettes will facilitate enforcement of New York’s clean indoor air law. Allowing e-cigarette use in places where cigarette smoking is prohibited would create confusion for customers and enforcement challenges for businesses and city officials, who would have to distinguish between e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes. It could encourage cigarette smokers to ignore the law and cause concern among customers expecting a smoke-free environment, leading to potential disputes. These problems are entirely avoidable by including e-cigarettes in the law. Those wishing to use e-cigarettes would simply have to step outside, just as cigarette smokers do.
Allowing e-cigarette use in places where smoking isn't allowed also could discourage smokers from quitting and lead them to dual use of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Instead of being motivated to quit by smoke-free policies, smokers could use e-cigarettes to get their nicotine fix in places where they can't smoke regular cigarettes.
This new proposal builds on New York City's strong and innovative efforts to fight tobacco use, which is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. We strongly urge the City Council to support this legislation.