New York City Ban on Public Smoking Now Covers E-Cigarettes

The vote to ban e-cigarettes in bars, restaurants, and city parks was passed by a 43 to 8 decision.

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In their last legislative session of the year, the New York City Council passed health and environmental regulations which placed bans on the increasingly popular e-cigarettes. The vote went through on Thursday by a 43 to 8 decision.  
 
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is now giving businesses and restaurants a year to put up signs signifying no smoking or vapor is allowed. The legislation bans the use of e-cigarettes in bars, restaurants, and city parks.
 
One of the reasons behind the ban is the device heats a nicotine solution. Manufacturers say despite this, they are harmless. Scientists also agree that e-cigarettes are not as dangerous as regular ones. One of those who conducted studies on the electronic cigarette is Igor Burstyn, PhD, of Drexel University’s  Department of Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health.
 
“There is no serious concern about the contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, acrolein, etc.) in the liquid or produced by heating,” said Burstyn. “While these contaminants are present, they have been detected at problematic levels only in a few studies that apparently were based on unrealistic levels of heating.”
 
States who may follow suit with New York City’s decision are New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah, and North Dakota. 
 
The legislation will also place an eventual ban on plastic foam-food service containers. This comes after a yearlong study conducted by the commissioner of the Sanitation Department. The study finds the material is nearly impossible to recycle and the city spends more than $310 million annually to bury 23,000 tons of plastic foam.
 
Those who oppose the bill say the ban will increase the cost of running a business -an expense they say customers would pay for.
 
"Once the ban takes effect, it will be much easier and more economical to collect and separate recyclables," Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted as saying in an NBC news article.
 
[Source: NBC, Drexel University]