City council seeks ban on e-cigarettes in public places as high-tech successor to smoking ban — ny daily news

First the city banned smoking in most public places. Now it s moving to snuff out the use of smokeless electronic cigarettes as well.

The City Council announced Wednesday that it will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill prohibiting the use of the battery operated, tobacco free vaporizers in restaurants, offices, parks, beaches and other places where smoking regular cigarettes is not allowed.

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Councilman James Gennaro (D Queens) is a sponsor of the bill to ban e cigs and calls it a «high tech successor» to 2002 tobacco cigarette ban.

The goal is to enact the new law by the end of the year, before the Council s current session ends.

E cigarettes have emerged as a trendy alternative to tobacco cigarettes, their popularity fueled by a perception that they are healthier and that they can help people kick conventional cigarette habits.

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Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sponsored the e cigarettes ban alongside Councilman James Gennaro, hoping to push it through before the end of the year.

But anti smoking advocates said there is no research showing that vaping e cigarettes is safe or that the smokeless devices can help people leave smoking addictions behind.

The advocates say that e cigs actually might interfere with attempts to quit smoking, because many e cigarettes contain nicotine, the habit forming stimulant contained in tobacco smoke.

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images Advocates of the e cigs ban say the vaporizers may actually inhibit quitting smoking.

The Council bill claims that the e cigs may even increase the appeal of traditional smoking. Children and youth who experiment with electronic cigarettes may become addicted to nicotine and then switch to smoking cigarettes,» the bill states.

The bill is sponsored by Councilman James Gennaro (D Queens) and Speaker Christine Quinn (D Manhattan).

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Dawid Zagorski/Getty Images/iStockphoto Anti smoking advocates say there is no research that says e cigarettes are safe.

This is kind of a high tech successor to the common sense anti smoking law we passed in 2002 that has yielded tremedous health benefits to the people of New York, Gennaro said.

But some Council members said they are on the fence about the tobacco free option going up in smoke. I will have to look at evidence that e cigs are harmful indoors, said Councilman Peter Vallone (D Queens).

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Ed Andrieski/AP Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who plans to testify at next week s hearing, said e cigarettes «may introduce a new generation to nicotine addiction, which could lead to their smoking combustion cigarettes.

Mayor Bloomberg who made the city an international leader in targeting tobacco use plans to fight for the proposal.

Electronic cigarettes are unregulated and the health risks to users are unknown,» said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who plans to testify at next week s hearing. They may introduce a new generation to nicotine addiction, which could lead to their smoking combustion cigarettes.

Chicago’s City Council is currently weighing a similar bill.

Many of the folks that are using these things are dual using smoking e cigs where they can t smoke regular cigarettes but still smoking tobacco , said Kevin O Flaherty, director of advocacy for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. This preserves the integrity of the current New York smoke free law.

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Senators slam golden globes for ‘glamorizing’ e-cigarettes during show — u.s. news

A group of senators on Tuesday sharply criticized a comedy bit during the Sunday broadcast of the Golden Globes that featured actress Julia Louis Dreyfus puffing on an electronic cigarette, accusing the awards show of «glamorizing» the controversial devices.

«In light of studies showing that exposure to on screen smoking is a major contributor to smoking initiation among youth, we are troubled that these images glamorize smoking and serve as celebrity endorsements that could encourage young fans to begin smoking traditional cigarettes or e cigarettes,» the lawmakers said in an open letter to the producers of show.

The senators Dick Durbin, D IL, Richard Blumenthal, D CT, Sherrod Brown, D OH, and Edward J. Markey, D MA called on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC Universal to «take action to ensure that future broadcasts» don’t make light of the health risks associated with tobacco.

Louis Dreyfus nominated at the ceremony for her roles in the film «Enough Said» and the television series «Veep» was seen drawing from an «e cigarette» and blowing smoke out of her mouth as part of a gag skewering haughty Hollywood behavior.

«She has really changed,» co host Amy Poehler deadpanned from the stage, as Louis Dreyfus, wearing cat eye sunglasses, caricatured a snooty star.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who took home a statuette for his performance in «The Wolf of Wall Street,» could also be seen taking a drag from an e cig during the broadcast.

The HFPA and NBC Universal did not have an immediate response to the letter.

NBC News’ Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.

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