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NYC e-cigarettes: Ban set, proof that e-cigarettes are safe is 'insufficient'

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A ban of NYC e-cigarettes in public locales like restaurants, libraries, and business offices has people puffing a little bit less this week. Smokers in New York City who are trying to quit smoking or simply transitioning over to e-cigarettes will see this ban set into place within four months, as city council officials recently stated that proof of these devices being safe is still “insufficient.” The CS Monitor describes the expected passage of this bill and why it was called for in the first place this Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.

NYC bans e-cigarettes is one decision that could be taken as positive or negative depending on New Yorkers, their smoking habits, and their belief in the efficacy of e-cigarettes. The City Council took to an official vote this week, and in a 43-8 decision, opted to include all e-cigarettes in the smoking ban within public indoor locations. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is anticipated to sign the latest anti-smoking measure within a short period of time. Once signed and officially passed, the ban would begin within four months.

It was City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, who announced to the public that the vote regarding e-cigarettes would be included within the newly set ban because overall evidence for these nicotine inhalers as fully safe remains unclear and insufficient. The other reason NYC bans e-cigarettes in their decision? Permitting such devices as these in indoor places like stores and restaurants where actual cigarettes are currently banned could actually “renormalize” the smoking effect, she added, thereby weakening the public view that the habit should be allowed only at home or in specifically designated smoking areas.

"We don't want a step backward with that," she concluded.

This recent vote came to a head in the NYC political system following arguments within health experts and public health aficionados, citing on how these electronic cigarettes should be handled. In many of these devices, tobacco-free smoke heats up an inner chemical solution so that vapors are emitted, providing smokers with their usual nicotine fix. Most manufacturers assert that the mist is not harmful to smokers, while experts concur that switching to e-cigarettes is much better for one’s health than taking in the tobacco smoke.

Additional information on the potential dangers and lack of safety evidence, however, came this morning via the NYC e-cigarettes press release (from the Christian Science Monitor):

“The devices, though, aren't heavily regulated. And experts say consumers can't yet be sure whether they are safe either for users or people exposed to second-hand vapor puffs … Like regular cigarettes, the nicotine in e-cigarettes is also highly addictive. People who use them may be unable to quit, even if they want to. That has raised concerns that a new generation of young people could gravitate toward e-cigarettes and wind up hooked for life or even switch to tobacco cigarettes.”

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