New York is the 11th state to announce a ban on indoor vaping, reflecting the US focus on e-cigs being harmful rather than a cessation tool.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill prohibiting vaping in workplaces, bars and restaurants in the state of New York. This is the 11th US state to ban e-cigarettes indoors and highlights the growing divide between researchers in the US and the UK.
Public Health England announced that e-cigarettes could be 95% less harmful than tobacco, whilst the UK’s Royal College of Physicians found that e-cigarettes carry only 5% of the risk of smoking tobacco. In contrast, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse has warned that e-cigarettes could contain potentially toxic ‘metal nanoparticles’ but more research is needed to uncover its long-term effects.
Anti-tobacco campaigner Matt Myers, executive director for the Washington DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, likewise called the ban, “not only appropriate but important”.“New York is not first to do this,” said Myers. “What we have found is when protecting people against any toxins indoors, you set a clear standard that both protects non-smokers and further de-normalizes any tobacco use.”
Compared to the UK where research into e-cigarettes have focused on the potential for vaping to help people quit smoking, US research has looked at vaping as a smoking substitute that could have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system and the potential for children to get ‘hooked’ on fruity flavours.
America’s lax smoking regulations could contribute to the US researcher’s view of potential harm. Taxes on tobacco are much lower in the US compared to those in the UK and Australia, and cigarette packets do not contain graphic imagery of health warnings, some states also allow traditional cigarette smoking in bars and restaurants.