BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A proposal that restricts where e-cigarettes can be inhaled appears to be well on its way to becoming a new state law.
The measure would treat the use of electronic cigarettes, known as “vaping”, the same as smoking tobacco, by amending New York’s Indoor Clean Air Act. It passed the State Senate late Monday, and now heads to the State Assembly.
Electronic cigarettes and other vapor products would be banned from bars, restaurants and indoor workplaces if the measure gets passed by state lawmakers before the end of the session tomorrow.
E-cigarettes heat up a vaping liquid, so the user inhales vapor rather than smoke, but state lawmakers have been alarmed by statistics showing teenagers are vaping at a higher rate than smoking.
Andrew Osborne, Vice President of the New York State Vaping Association, is among those in the industry who believe vaping is less harmful, and helps smokers kick the habit.
“Every time New York State lumps vaping together with smoking, they are basically telling the smokers it is the same thing, don’t bother, and it is not not the same thing.”
Osborne worries that banishing the “vapers” to outdoor smoking areas might weaken their resolve to stop smoking, “Vaping is a breakthrough technology that smokers can use to literally save their own life, and every time we pass a law like this, we are telling smokers vaping is basically the same thing as smoking.”
If this measure does pass in Albany, it will have little effect in Erie County which passed its own law restricting e-cigarette use two years ago. Both measures exclude vaping lounges, where vaping products are sold.
The State Assembly approved a bill earlier this year, similar to the Senate measure, so it is expected to pass, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has pledged his support.