As one of the final acts as Mayor, Michael Bloomberg signed into law a bill to expand the Smoke-Free Air Act to include electronic cigarettes. It seems fitting that as one of his final official acts, Mayor Bloomberg was signing a bill to expand New York City’s successful smokefree law. New York City recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the law, which protects workers and patrons from cigarette smoke at our workplaces, bars, and restaurants. It’s hard to even remember that just over ten years ago, a night out in New York often left you smelling of smoke and forcing you to endure hours of secondhand smoke exposure.
More recently, our smokefree bars and restaurants have become increasingly filled with secondhand electronic cigarette emissions. As e-cigarettes have increased in popularity, New Yorkers are once again being unwillingly exposed to potentially harmful emissions. While we await the US Food and Drug Administration to assess their authority to regulate e-cigarettes, we are glad that the City of New York has asserted its own authority to protect the health of its residents, workers, and visitors. Not only have e-cigarettes not been proven to be safe, they also have not been approved as a smoking cessation tool.
A couple of important facts to remember about e-cigarettes:
- This new law does not ban e-cigarettes, but simply restricts where they are allowed to be used.
- We also want to remind anyone who is thinking about quitting smoking to talk to their doctors, call 311 and consider using one of the seven FDA-approved smoking cessation products.
This blog post was written by Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications, at the American Lung Association of the Northeast.