Laws in New York and Chicago make electronic cigarettes subject to the same regulations as tobacco. The similarities in laws in both of these well-known cities has created a type of microcosm for an issue that has been stirring since the first “ecig” came out.
Long time upstate New York resident and proprietor of Hempire State Smoke Shop located in the city of Rochester, Tony Vella speaks on his time spent in the windy city compared to growing up in Rochester and how he has seen similarities in the electronic cigarette movement.
“New York and Illinois have always had similar stances on smoking laws. I almost opened up a smoke shop in Chicago but decided to take my chances (in New York).”
Dr Thomas Farley, the New York City health commissioner under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, says allowing electronic cigarettes in bars and restaurants would undermine existing bans on tobacco-based products.
“Imagine for a moment you’re at a bar and there are 20 people who are puffing on something that looks like a cigarette and then somebody smells something that smells like tobacco smoke,” Farley says. “How’s the bartender going to know who to tap on the shoulder and say, ‘Put that out’?”
Makers of the devices say marketing them as e-cigarettes has confused lawmakers into thinking they are the same as tobacco-based cigarettes. They say the bans “ostracize people who want an alternative to tobacco products and will be especially hard on ex-smokers who are being lumped into the same smoking areas as tobacco users.”
The biggest problem that New York and Illinois seem to face now is that there is so little evidence on the effect of vaping devices as far as the effect it has on smoking. In other words, it has been widely undecided on whether these devices serve as an aid in quitting, a gateway for non-smokers or a bridge to keep smokers hooked longer.