Tags: NYC | ban | e-cigarettes | health

NYC to Hold Hearings on Banning E-Cigarettes

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 08:01 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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The New York City Council will consider prohibiting trendy smokeless cigarettes from bars, restaurants, and indoor public places, NBC 4 New York reported Wednesday.

The council's health committee has fast-tracked the issue for Dec. 4. It is being co-sponsored by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lost her bid for mayor in the Democratic primary to Bill de Blasio, who won the mayoral election.

Electronic cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, but are battery-powered. Smokers inhale vaporized liquid nicotine instead of tobacco smoke. Smoking opponents say the electronic cigarettes lead to smoking tobacco products.

"We all know that smoking is a particularly difficult habit to kick. Allowing smokers an easy way to maintain their nicotine intake indoors can make quitting even harder," an official statement said. "Allowing the use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited sends the wrong message to children: that smoking is safe."

Some smokers have turned to the increasingly popular e-cigarettes to help them quit.

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder and chief financial officer of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, told NBC, "It's been our position that electronic cigarettes should be regulated as a tobacco product."

Recent landmark legislation has banned the sale of tobacco products in New York City to anyone under the age of 21.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the health risks of electronic cigarettes are unknown.

"They may introduce a new generation to nicotine addiction, which could lead to their smoking combustion cigarettes," he said.

Committee members are also afraid that e-cigarettes will send a message to kids that smoking is safe.

"We see these [electronic] cigarettes are really starting to proliferate, and it's unacceptable," legislation co-sponsor Councilman James Gennaro told The New York Times.

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