After a whirlwind effort, New York City Council followed the lead of numerous other states and municipalities on Thursday by expanding the restrictions found in the Smoke Free Air Act. Beginning in 120 days after enacted, you will no longer be permitted to use electronic cigarettes in the locations covered by our 10-year-old law. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine by inhaling a vaporized liquid. The devices often mimic conventional cigarettes in appearance and functionality - and that was the compelling motivation for the American Heart Association to support their inclusion in our clean indoor air law.
While the science is still evolving on the health impact of using these devices, and the content of what is emitted when the user exhales, the AHA is greatly concerned about how these devices could weaken the enforcement of our no-smoking policy. These devices are currently unregulated due to the e-cigarette's reticence to be overseen by the FDA as a cessation tool. As a result, we cannot be certain how these devices are manufactured, marketed or used. The AHA strongly encourages the FDA to regulate these devices as tobacco products. However, until that time, it is appropriate and reasonable for e-cigarettes to be included in clean indoor air laws.
We are thankful for the Council's leadership to help approve this policy. This was bill was passed at a final marathon meeting of this Council session. We expect the Mayor will sign the bill into law before he leaves office on December 31st.
Thanks to all of you - our You're the Cure advocates - for helping to convince our Council Members that this was a prudent step to protect our law. With a vote of 43-8, I would say they heard you loud and clear!