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Health

Anti-smoking activists want more regulations on e-cigarettes

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Joseph Morris
/
Flickr

Regulations surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes and the liquid nicotine that fuels them continue to increase in New York state, but anti-smoking activists are hoping for more.

The Clean Indoor Air Act of 2003 prohibited smoking in public places, but that doesn’t automatically apply to the newest trend in tobacco use, e-cigarettes, says American Heart Association Spokeswoman Kristy Smorol.

"We’re going back to a time of  that whether, it’s smoke or vapor hanging around, we’re going backwards allowing these to continue in workplaces, bars and restaurants,” she said.

Smorol says the effects of e-cigarettes, that let smokers inhale vaporized liquid nicotine instead of tobacco smoke, are still a big mystery, and that’s enough reason to ban them. 

"We really just don’t know enough about what happens; what happens to people who are actually vaping, and the people that are around those vaping. There’s not enough science at the moment," said Smorol

Albany so far has focused much of its attention towards youth when it comes to the e-Cigarette craze. The state banned the sale of the electronic cigarettes to minors a few years ago. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced agreements with four liquid nicotine companies requiring that the nicotine sold for the vaporized cigarettes, be sold in child-resistant packaging. This follows a rise of child-poisoning cases involving liquid nicotine.  

The next strategy is legislation that puts e-cigarettes under the same umbrella as state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which would prohibit people from vaping anywhere cigarette smoking is already illegal. The state Assembly passed legislation to do that, but the Senate didn’t vote on it before the end of session.  

Several local governments aren’t waiting for Albany, moving ahead on their own to extend vaping to the Clean Indoor Air Act, including Albany, Tompkins and Erie Counties, as well as New York City.