Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal announced the Assembly's passage this week of legislation (A.516, Rosenthal) which would extend the protections of New York's Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes. Originally, the Act prohibited the use of tobacco products in office buildings, restaurants, bars and other public spaces. Now, this legislation also addresses the health concerns raised about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
"We cannot ignore the growing concerns from researchers across the nation about the dangers of e-cigarette emissions and their potential threat to human health," said Heastie. "By including e-cigarettes in the Clean Indoor Air Act, we can reduce public exposure to dangerous chemicals and discourage our youth from developing unhealthy habits."
"For years, we have recognized the significant health risks associated with smoking and tobacco use and fought tirelessly to make cigarette smoking taboo," said Assemblymember Rosenthal. "Studies have shown that e-cigarettes expose individuals to carcinogens and an array of other harmful chemicals. This legislation closes the loophole that for too long allowed e-cigarettes to infiltrate public spaces protected by the Clean Indoor Air Act."
The federal Food and Drug Administration and the Surgeon General have raised concerns about e-cigarette vapor emissions, which have been found to be laced with nicotine, a habit forming substance, and also such dangerous chemicals as diethyleneglycol, benzene, a volatile organic compound, and heavy metals. This e-cigarette prohibition bill aims to protect the health of New Yorkers from these relatively new and unknown devices and the potential health risks they pose to both the users who inhale the chemical laden vapors directly and also to non-users through secondhand exposure.
The Assembly has previously taken significant steps to ban the sale and distribution of electronic cigarettes to minors. In 2012, a law was passed to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. In 2014, another law was passed to ban the sale of liquid nicotine to minors and to require liquid nicotine to be sold in child-resistant packaging.
Additionally, legislation (A.611, Rosenthal) also was passed this week to ban the use of e-cigarettes on school grounds, another step in the Assembly's longstanding commitment to protect the health of children from the negative effects of tobacco products.