At 12:01 this morning it became illegal to use e-cigarettes in New York City anywhere traditional cigarettes are banned. Now lawmakers in Albany want to extend that ban across the state. “Smokers’ rights end when they start affecting nonsmokers,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal told the Post, adding that she "felt nauseous" when an e-cig user expelled vapor in her vicinity.
Citing a lack of regulation by the FDA (whose newly proposed e-cigarette regulations are minor and won't go into effect for a year or more), the bill's memo states:
This lack of oversight, is placing individuals at risk because there is little known about the chemical make-up of the liquid nicotine or the harm to individuals from inhaling the water vapor directly or through secondhand exposure.
While e-cigarette and smokers' rights groups are suing New York City over the e-cig ban passed in December, the theory behind their lawsuit is that the City Council's bill violated the state's "One Subject Rule." A state law amending the Smoke Free Air Act to include e-cigarettes would presumably be much harder to challenge.
Last night a group of libertarians and Vapers (with a capital "V") gathered at the Museum of Sex to flout the law. The Health Department enforcers didn't show up.
In two months, establishments are required to post signage about the ban, but Mayor Bloomberg's Health Commissioner admitted during a City Council hearing that enforcement would most likely fall to the owner.