American Thoracic Society Applauds NYC’s Banning on Indoor Use of E-Cigarettes

Released: 12/20/2013 11:00 AM EST
Source Newsroom: American Thoracic Society (ATS)
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Newswise — December 20, 2013 – The American Thoracic Society, which has been based in New York City since 1905, is pleased with the city council vote yesterday prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes in indoor public areas where smoking regular cigarettes is also banned.

The measure, which was backed by Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, is the latest in a series of initiatives from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to curb tobacco use which have included raising tobacco taxes and banning smoking of traditional cigarettes in public places, a move which has been duplicated by a number of other U.S. cities.

The ATS recently released a policy statement on the regulation of e-cigarettes, available here, which recommends that federal, state and municipal authorities should assert jurisdiction and effectively regulate e-cigarettes, including setting age restrictions for their sale and regulating their content and advertising.

The growth of e-cigarettes is challenging because most state and local tobacco laws were enacted before the development of e-cigarettes. And states without policies are being lobbied aggressively by the tobacco industry to exempt e-cigarettes from both state excise tobacco taxes and from state smoke-free bans. In some states, it is legal for children younger than 18 to buy e-cigarettes.

The federal government has not yet taken action regulatory action e-cigarettes but is expected soon to release proposed rules to extend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority over e-cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. The release of the proposed rules will start a lengthy public comment process that will eventually lead to FDA regulations on e-cigarettes, but it is likely tobacco industry will file several legal challenges seeks to weaken or delay FDA’s rules.

The ATS applauds the city council for taking this important step to protect the public from the potential adverse risks associated with e-cigarettes.

For further comment:
Frank T. Leone, MD
Vice-Chair, American Thoracic Society Tobacco Action Committee