Smokers the world over are once again revelling in being able to puff away pretty much any place they like, all in the smug knowledge that their electronic cigarettes stick it to public health laws. Sure they’re not quite on-par with ciggies in terms of stench and toxins, but they’ve not been around for nearly long enough to determine how harmful they are to any of us.
And let’s not forget, puffing away in a haze of self-satisfaction in public places doesn’t exactly give the best example for youngsters to follow – aren’t we supposed to be discouraging kids from smoking in the first place?
Well, the good news for folks in New York is that the matter is right now being debated by City Council, where lawmakers are considering an outright ban on electronic cigarettes in al public places – restaurants and bars included.
Opposed to the idea deliberately showed their defiance by puffing away on their devices all the way through the hearing yesterday, speaking of the measure being nothing more than another step toward a ‘Big Brother’ society of total control. Their argument is that electronic cigarettes can be used as smoking cessation aids, are much less harmful for those smoking them and have not been proven as any risk to those around.
At the same time though, they haven’t been proved as being anything close to safe.
The e-cigarette industry is just beginning to find its feet and is expected to generate sales topping a massive $1.7 billion by the end of this year alone.
Backed by Mayor Bloomberg, the proposal is to add electronic cigarettes in all their forms to the existing Smoke Free Air Act, which would see them outlawed in all the same places as standard cigarettes. This would mean no smoking allowed in office, restaurants, bars, parks and even on the state’s beaches.
Officials spoke specifically of the risks posed by e-cigarettes in terms of kids getting the wrong idea that it is a harmless habit and thus being far more likely to begin smoking and develop nicotine addiction.
“If smoking becomes socially appealing or even glamorous again, you can be virtually certain that smoking rates of teenagers will rise,” said Thomas Farley, New York’s Health Commissioner.