ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York governor Andrew Cuomo has signed two bills affecting smokers. The new laws include measures to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the entrances or exits of any public or private schools, as well as prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18.
"Cigarette smoking--as well as exposure to secondhand smoke--is dangerous, particularly for our children," Cuomo said. "These two new laws will strengthen our state's protections to help our young people avoid nicotine addiction as well as the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. I thank the sponsors of both these bills for their efforts to protect the health of our youth."
Owen JohnsonThe new law expands the ban on smoking on school grounds to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of public and private schools. Residences or residential property within the 100 foot perimeter would be excluded from the new law's smoking ban.
This new law takes effect immediately.
E-cigarettes--battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke--could serve as a pathway to nicotine addiction for children, leading them to smoke cigarettes and use other tobacco products, Cuomo said.
Also, e-cigarette refill cartridges, often sold without protective packaging, contain high concentrations of nicotine that could be fatal if accidentally ingested by young children. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) also has warned that that e-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans or that may otherwise be unsafe, said the report
The bill passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously, and the new law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
"Unlike other nicotine-containing products, e-cigarettes are not currently regulated and, as such, children are legally able to purchase these devices and consume nicotine, an addictive chemical," State Senator Owen Johnson (R) said. "In fact, the idea for this bill came to me from school officials in my district. This is common-sense legislation that keeps an addictive chemical away from children and adolescents, while at the same time preserving the rights of adults to make their own informed decisions about whether to use these products, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law."
State assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D) said, "I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed my bill to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and to regulate them in the same way that other tobacco products are currently regulated. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, though currently unregulated and potentially dangerous to human health, are manufactured in flavors meant to appeal to young people, such as bubblegum and chocolate. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, the highly addictive ingredient found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, which will hook yet another generation of young people on a deadly habit. We will be saving lives by preventing a generation of young people from sampling that first, addictive cigarette."