The New York State Senate today announced that a Senate bill protecting the health of students by prohibiting e-cigarette use at schools has been signed by the Governor and is now law. The measure (S750), sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie, helps discourage smoking by children at a time when e-cigarette use among youth continues to increase. It is among several measures passed by the Senate this year to protect public health from the risks of nicotine exposure.
“Schools are meant to be safe places for students, however, when they are exposed to things like e-cigarettes, their health is put at risk,” said Senator Ritchie. “With so much still unknown about the chemical makeup of the nicotine solution used in e-cigarettes, this new law will safeguard the health of children across the state and continue New York’s commitment to preventing childhood and teenage smoking.”
While many school grounds are already designated as “tobacco-free,” e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and this new law will help allow schools to further restrict youth from endangering their health by using these devices.
Two other Senate bills to protect public health from e-cigarettes were also passed by both houses this session and will be sent to the Governor for his review.
One bill (S2543A), sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon, would ban the use of electronic cigarettes in indoor areas covered by the Clean Indoor Air Act, as well as certain public outdoor areas where smoking cigarettes is prohibited. The lack of oversight relating to the use of electronic cigarettes places individuals at risk because little is known about the chemical make-up of the liquid nicotine, which could harm the individuals inhaling the vapor directly or through secondhand exposure. While many claim to use e-cigarettes as smoking cessation mechanisms, three states and more than 170 municipalities prohibit use of e-cigarettes in other smoke-free environments in order to protect the health and rights of non-smokers who do not wish to be exposed to this secondhand vapor.
Another bill (S2542A), also sponsored by Senator Hannon, would require any person to register with the state Department of Taxation and Finance if they sell electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine and are not otherwise registered with the state Department of Taxation and Finance to sell tobacco products. This would close a loophole that allows some retailers of electronic cigarettes who do not also sell tobacco cigarettes to avoid compliance checks that ensure adherence to current laws related to prohibiting selling to minors and other restrictions.