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The Bloomberg Ban – Electronic Cigarettes Not Welcome in NYC

Date Posted: August 13, 2013

The regulation of electronic cigarettes has become one of the most controversial topics in the news. With proposed bans in conflict with locations that have accepted the new gadgets, it’s no wonder there is such chaos. Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg is jumping on the banning bandwagon and has asked NYC’s City Council to draft a document including e cigs in the city’s tobacco laws.

bloombergOn May 2nd, New York City’s Committee on Health held a meeting to amend the city’s current tobacco and smoking laws. The focus was on raising the legal age limit to 21, as well as regulating pricing, advertisements and placement of tobacco products. Nothing about e-cigs was included in the first draft of the proposal.

When asked as to whether or not e-cigs would be included in the amendment, Councilman James Gennaro told the citizens that “the administration does not want to touch the ecigarettes” and that regulating ecigarettes “is not our intent”.

According to a source who attended the meeting in May, “Approximately 20 e-cigarette users spoke before the Health Committee and it was strongly implied by the Council members that the ordinances would be amended to protect consumer access to low-risk alternatives [like electronic cigarettes]”

That was on May 2nd. Now, it’s early August and an edited proposal from the City Council has been leaked, stating that e cigs will be included in the amended bills; classified as tobacco products (even though they don’t contain tobacco!). No doubt Mayor Bloomberg was behind this.

If passed, the bills would restrict sales of e-cigs to people over 21 and prohibit the display of cigarettes and tobacco-related advertisements in retail stores. They would also create a minimum price of $10.50 per pack of cigarettes, forbid the use of tobacco coupons and increase fines against people selling cigarettes illegally.

“This is a de facto ban on electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, an advocate of ecigs and a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. “Pretty much all electronic cigarettes are flavored; they’re essentially flavored products.
You’re basically telling a bunch of ex-smokers to go back to cigarettes.”

Dr. Siegel adds, “I have no problems with this ordinance as a whole – raising the age, banning advertising. But [electronic-cigarettes] are a product that’s literally saving people’s lives… and giving them an alternative.”

Here’s to hoping Mr. Bloomberg’s ecig plan will fail as fantastically as his attempt to ban large sodas.

If you want to speak out against Bloomberg’s proposals, please contact the members of the New York City Health Committee below:

Hon. Maria Del Carmen Arroyo (District 17) (D – Bronx)
718-402-6130 – jotero@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Inez E. Dickins (District 9) (D – Manhattan)
212-678-4505
Hon. Mathieu Eugene (District 40) (D – Brooklyn)
718-287-8762 – Mathieu.eugene@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Julissa Ferreras (District 21) (D – Queens)
718-651-1917 – jferreras@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Helen D. Foster (District 16) (D – Bronx)
718-588-7500 – helen.foster@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Joel Rivera (District 15) (D – Bronx)
718-842-8100 – joel.rivera@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Rosie Mendez (District 2) (D – Manhattan)
212-677-1077 – rosie.mendez@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Deborah L. Rose (District 49) (D – Staten Island)
718-556-7370 – drose@Council.nyc.gov
Hon. Peter F. Vallone, Jr. (District 22) (D – Queens)
718-274-4500 – peter.vallonejr@council.nyc.gov
Hon. James G. Van Bramer (District 26) (D – Queens)
718-383-9566 – jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov
Hon. Albert Vann (District 36) (D – Brooklyn)
718-919-0740 or 718-919-0741 – albert.vann@council.nyc.gov

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