New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco Implementing Electronic Cigarette Laws: Millions protected from exposure to e-cigarette secondhand aerosol

BERKELEY, Calif., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights:

On April 29, 2014, New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco will implement laws that prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in smokefree environments.  Each of these cities amended existing smokefree laws to include these new electronic smoking devices, which include vape pens, e-hookahs, and e-cigarettes, as products that are not permitted for use in smokefree areas.  In addition, the California cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach implemented similar laws earlier this month.  Roughly 17 million residents who live in these cities will be affected by these new protections. 

"Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights supports the inclusion of e-cigarettes and similar electronic smoking devices in smokefree laws," said Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director.  "The science on the constituents of the secondhand aerosol indicates that hazardous pollutants are emitted into the air including lead, chromium, nicotine, and propylene glycol, along with other ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds.  These laws are designed to protect worker and patron health and safety."

Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago was the first of the 20 largest U.S. cities to propose legislation to include e-cigarettes in their clean indoor air law.  New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco quickly introduced legislation to add e-cigarettes to their smokefree laws too.  With assistance from Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, all of these cities coordinated efforts to enact their e-cigarette laws in April 2014. 

"Rather than waiting for the Federal government to act, Chicago is taking the lead," says Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of Chicago Department of Public Health.  "In Chicago, the standard is that everyone has the right to breathe clean indoor air, not less dirty air.  In addition, including e-cigarettes in Chicago's smokefree law creates an environment that discourages kids from ever picking up a nicotine habit." 

"We have an obligation to protect the workforce, youth, and everyone else in public places from the effects of secondhand aerosol exhaled by people who choose to vape on e-cigarettes," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. "Three of the largest cities in this country have made a move to preserve the health of our residents. I look forward to other cities following suit."

"I introduced e-cigarette legislation in San Francisco to protect the public from widespread use of this unregulated cousin to cigarettes," said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar.  "San Francisco's legislation is as practical as it is preventative - people who want to smoke e-cigarettes can continue to do so in the same places where regular cigarettes are smoked, while everyone else can continue to breathe clean air wherever they work and play.  We're bolstered by the initiatives in Chicago and Los Angeles and are really heartened by the sweeping national support for these common sense regulations."

At least 170 municipalities and three states explicitly include e-cigarettes as products that cannot be used in smokefree environments (http://no-smoke.org/pdf/ecigslaws.pdf).  Many jurisdictions that already had strong smokefree laws on the books simply amended those laws to include electronic smoking devices.  As a result, some cities do allow for exemptions, such as allowing product use in vape shops, lounges, and retail e-cigarette stores.  While this may seem like a reasonable minor exemption, most of these shops are in strip malls where there is shared air with other tenants, and it does not protect the workers in the vape shops.  It is always in the best interest of public health to have every business covered by a smokefree law to protect worker and patron health and safety.  ANR strongly encourages cities and states to adopt laws that cover all workplaces at all times, including bars, vape shops, and casinos. 

The FDA released proposed deeming regulations which include e-cigarettes on April 24, 2014.  Those regulations are merely the beginning of what will likely be a very long, multi-year process to regulate product development and warning labels. Sadly, the proposal does not address the unfettered, unscrupulous e-cigarette marketing and promotions, nor do they eliminate the flavored products as was done with tobacco cigarettes to curb youth experimentation. 

The proposed deeming regulations also do not, and cannot, regulate usage of these e-smoking devices (i.e., in smokefree environments).  "Cities and states can and should continue to adopt laws that regulate where and when e-smoking devices like e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, and vape pens can be used, and regulate sales of products to minors," said Hallett.  "Historically, we have always seen strong leadership from local jurisdictions on tobacco control public health policies, and the trend with e-cigarette regulations is following that same course."  In addition, many communities are also evaluating the placement and density of "vape shops" and are considering zoning laws that would prevent an overabundance of these establishments in certain neighborhoods and near schools.

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (www.no-smoke.org) is a national, member-based, not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley, CA that is dedicated to helping nonsmokers breathe smokefree air in enclosed public places and workplaces and exposing tobacco industry and allied interference.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140428/81411

SOURCE Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights



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