The New York City council has voted to add electronic cigarettes to the city’s strict smoking ban, in what could be the latest of many anti-tobacco measures put in place by the outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
As The Guardian reports, “Only weeks after New York became the first major city to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 21, the city council voted 43-8 to add electronic cigarettes to the city’s Smoke-Free Air Act.
“Bloomberg’s other initiatives have included bans on trans fats and attempting to limit the sale of large sugary drinks. If the mayor signs the bill as expected, smoking e-cigarettes – or “vaping” – would be prohibited at public and private venues such as beaches, parks, restaurants and office buildings after 120 days.
“The council speaker, Christine Quinn, who sponsored the bill, said at a press conference that the public use of e-cigarettes threatened to undermine enforcement of anti-smoking laws because their appearance was similar to traditional cigarettes and could “renormalise smoking in public places.”
“E-cigarettes are slim, reuseable metal tubes that contain nicotine-laced liquid in a variety of flavours such as bubble gum and bacon. As a “smoker” puffs on the device, the nicotine is heated and releases a vapour that, unlike cigarette smoke, contains no tar, which is known to cause cancer and other diseases.
“Critics of the law contend that such a ban would do more harm than good. Richard Carmona, a former US surgeon general and a current board member at NJOY, one of America’s largest electronic cigarette manufacturers, sent a letter to the council recently to urge rejection of the bill. “I’m extremely concerned that a well-intentioned but scientifically unsupported effort like the current proposal to include electronic cigarettes in New York’s current smoking ban could constitute a giant step backward in the effort to defeat tobacco smoking,” Carmona wrote. Continue reading “New York bans e-cigs”
The share of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes doubled in 2012 from the previous year, federal data show, according to the New York Times.
“The rise is prompting concerns among health officials that the new devices could be creating as many health problems as they are solving.
“One in 10 high school students said they had tried an e-cigarette last year, according to a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from one in 20 in 2011. About 3 percent said they had used one in the last 30 days. In total, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012.
“This is really taking off among kids,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the C.D.C. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine that is vaporized to form an aerosol mist. Producers promote them as a healthy alternative to smoking, but researchers say their health effects are not yet clear, though most acknowledge that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration does not yet regulate them, though analysts expect that the agency will start soon.
“Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, which represents 28,000 stores, said the study “raises too many unanswered questions,” for the data to be used for policy making. It was unclear, for example, whether students who tried e-cigarettes were using them regularly or only once. He pointed out that selling them to minors is now illegal in many states.
“One of the biggest concerns among health officials is the potential for e-cigarettes to become a path to smoking among young people who otherwise would not have experimented. The survey found that most students who had tried e-cigarettes had also smoked traditional cigarettes. Continue reading “Teen e-cigarette sales skyrocket”
E-cigarettes have hit some snags in California.
With fresh memories of how rapidly marijuana dispensaries multiplied and generated controversy, many cities want to slow the spread of electronic cigarette stores until they can figure out the ramifications, reports the LA Times:
“It’s a fast-growing business: A report by Wells Fargo Securities this summer estimated brick-and-mortar sales for e-cigarettes will top $1 billion this year and bring in an additional $700 million in online sales.
“For many, vaping is a way to cut back on smoking. For others it’s a trendy option that offers varied flavors similar to hookahs and lacks the smell left behind by cigarettes. Although businesses and cities are starting to look at e-cigarettes more closely, the devices can still be used at many more places than allow smoking. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t weighed in on the effects of secondhand vapor, the essentially odorless cloud is far less noticeable than exhaled smoke. But as with pot shops, some have raised concerns about the potential clientele of electronic cigarette stores. And an even larger debate hinges on whether the myriad restrictions that many cities impose on smokers should also apply to vapers. For Jim Basham, Seal Beach’s director of community development, the distinguishing line between pot dispensaries and vaping outlets is a bit blurry. He’s seen e-cigarette stores evolve into hemp shops — and draw with them a ragtag crowd.
“You have other folks with different intentions,” Basham said, “and you can have secondary adverse effects, like crime.” Continue reading “E-cigarettes hit snags in California”