No more e-cigarettes in NY bars, restaurants

ALBANY -- The days of using electronic cigarettes and other vaporizers in bars and restaurants are about to be over in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign a bill Monday banning the use of the vaporizer products in public indoor spaces and workplaces, including restaurants and other areas where people congregate, according to the governor's office.

The new law adds e-cigarettes and similar products to the Clean Indoor Air Act, the state law that first banned cigarettes in bars, restaurants and the like more than 14 years ago.

The expanded ban takes effect in 30 days.

E-cigarettes, a battery-powered vapor device, often contain nicotine, which is addictive.

Use of the products are increasingly popular among young people, with more than 2 million middle- and high-school students as current users as of 2016, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

The expanded indoor ban had support from the American Cancer Society, which had billed it as a "common-sense measure" that will "protect the health of our children and our hospitality workers."

But the tavern industry and vape-store owners pushed back, arguing that vapor products shouldn't been treated the same as smoking products.

Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, said tavern owners have seen some patrons -- but not many -- use e-cigarettes in their establishments. The taverns would like to accommodate them, he said.

"This will make it more difficult, but we managed to live through banning smoking in our establishments, so I don't think this will have a detrimental impact on it," Wexler said. "It just makes our businesses less hospitable to our patrons."

Lawmakers had approved the bill in June, shortly before ending their annual legislative session at the Capitol.
Cuomo had been widely expected to sign it into law.

The Democratic governor had previously proposed similar versions of the ban in his state budget, but they didn't make it into the final spending plan.

In June, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network said New Yorkers "should not have to wait any longer to breathe clean air."

"This legislation will protect New Yorkers from second hand exposure to nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals found in these products," the group wrote then. "It will also help ensure that the public health benefits of smoke-free laws are not undermined."

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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