The Jury Has Made a Decision on E-cigarettes

In New York City Council chambers, a e-smoker waits to hear if legislation will pass that will prohibit smoking e-cigarettes at workplaces and indoor public places, such as City Hall.

In New York City Council chambers, a e-smoker waits to hear if legislation will pass that will prohibit smoking e-cigarettes at workplaces and indoor public places, such as City Hall.

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation to include electronic cigarettes in the City’s Smoke-Free Air Act which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

Unlike nicotine gum and skin patches, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have not yet been evaluated by the FDA for safety or effectiveness and are currently unregulated.  Some studies show that e-cigarettes emit vapor that holds toxic chemicals.

A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in one year, from 2011 to 2012, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than doubled from 4.7% to 10.0%.  I am concerned that this unregulated product will serve as a nicotine starter kit for youth. Some studies suggest that e-cigarettes are a “gateway” to smoking traditional tobacco products.

While the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City is awaiting further information from the FDA, one thing is perfectly clear: New York children and teenagers should not be exposed to any products that may encourage addiction.

Local and state governments across the country are adding e-cigarettes to their Smoke-Free Air Acts. I commend the New York City Council for taking action that prevents the normalization of smoking of any kind for our young people.