E-Cigarettes added to NY’s Clean Indoor Air Act, proving once again how ingrained the association of vaping with smoking is
On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that places e-cigarettes of all kinds under the jurisdiction of New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act. This ban is set to take effect in just 30 days. Over 70% of the state’s municipalities already had some form of vaping restriction, but this move makes it law across the entire state. The original Clean Indoor Air Act was one of the first in the nation to ban cigarette smoking in most public spaces.
In regards to the reasoning, Gov. Cuomo said: “they [e-cigarettes] also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them.” In the wake of the move, much has been said about the safety of children as valid reasoning. American Lung Association executive vice president of the Northeast, Jeff Seyler, told the New York Times, e-cigarettes are “just another tool reeling them into a dangerous and often lifetime of addiction to nicotine.”
This is not the first time that vaping has faced bans in the state of New York. Just earlier this year, manufacturer’s appealed the similar ban already in effect in New York City. Unfortunately, the court decided in favor of e-cigarettes inclusion in the law. But for the countless users who have reported quitting smoking using vaping, the association of vaping and smoking, prevalent in the general public, would be laughable if it wasn’t so detrimental. Vape shop owners, many of whom also quit smoking using vaping, feel that they are helping the public by spreading technology that can add years to your life.
Bans like this are popping up all over the country, with San Francisco and St. Louis both passing prohibitions just this year. Fueled mostly by misinformation and a reputation problem, vaping has become a culturally unpopular activity. But if you ask almost anyone who has used them to curb their cigarette habit, they will laud the devices for being key to their success. It’s not just anecdotal evidence either, while they may squabble about the extent, most reputable researchers now agree the harm reduction value of vaping is statistically significant. Ultimately the problem with treating vaping like smoking in the law is it perpetuates the false belief that they are similar in risk.
Numbers Don’t Lie
No one is trying to claim that vaping is 100% harmless, almost nothing is. But the facts are becoming more apparent every day, that vaping is nowhere near the hazard to your health that smoking is. It’s also true that there is much more research that needs to be done before anything is conclusively known about long-term usage. But that being said, the largest and most reputable universities and governmental organizations are starting to reach a consensus about just how much safer vaping is than smoking. The answer is a lot. Public Health England found vaping to be at least 95% less harmful, and just last week an article published in the Journal of Aerosol Science found that the Excess Lifetime Cancer Risk of vaping is roundabouts 57,000 times lower than smoking.
Not only are e-cigarettes much safer, but studies have shown that over half of daily vapers quit smoking for good. A joint investigation out of Columbia and Rutgers found that 52% of vapers who reported vaping every day, stopped smoking. The same study found that only 12.1% of respondents that just reported vaping “some days” ended up quitting smoking. This discrepancy could account for the studies that didn’t find an association between vaporizer use and success of quit attempts. Vaping may also be successful as a smoking cessation tool due to the psychological cues it offers that other nicotine replacement therapies do not. This utility is what the British Psychological Society had in mind when they recently came out in support of vaping for smoking cessation.
It’s becoming harder to deny the facts about e-cigarettes, but in spite of this, legislators across America continue to demonize them. This demonization, however misguided, legitimizes individuals who think vaping is harmful. But what’s worse is it gives a reason for smokers on the fence to stick with an incredibly deadly habit.
What do you think about New York’s new ban? Do you think it’s fair to group smoking and vaping together? How can we prove to legislators that vaping is a successful smoking cessation tool? Let us know what you think in the comments.