Effective on November 22, 2017, e-cigarettes will be added to the list of smoking restrictions in New York State. This article will discuss New York State’s update to the Clean Indoor Air Act.
“E-cigs” as they are commonly referred to is a product that vaporizes various oils into an inhalant. Most city and state smoking ordinances throughout the country do not address e-cigarettes, which leaves employers to fend for themselves when developing workplace smoking policies. However, the e-cigarette trend is rapidly expanding and many employers, including CVS Caremark, UPS, and Starbucks have already decided to include e-cigarettes in their company’s smoking policies. According to the American Lung Association, around 70% of New York State municipalities already have bans in effect.
In 2003, New York State implemented the Clean Indoor Air Act, which was one of the country’s first measures to address indoor smoking. The Act initially banned smoking tobacco products in public indoor areas. In 2013, Mayor Bloomberg included e-cigarettes in the New York City Smoke Free Air Act. In the last year, New York has come down hard on e-cigarettes, despite its growing popularity. This past summer, the New York State Assembly added e-cigarettes to the City Act, which was approved by the Senate.
On October 23, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the ban on the use of e-cigarettes in places of employment, schools, bars, restaurants, public transportation and public indoor spaces. The e-cigarette ban is beneficial for employers for various reasons. The research on long-term health effects of e-cigarette use is limited. However, the California Department of Public Health released a report in 2015 identifying 10 chemicals known to cause birth defects and cancer within the e-cig vapor. Other chemicals in e-cigs can be toxic to the liver. Therefore, employees will not be exposed to harmful chemicals contained in the e-cigarette vapor.
Another benefit is that employees will not be exposed to the emission of e-cigarette odors that may be unpleasant to other employees and cause problems for those suffering from allergies. In addition, employers who already prohibit e-cigarette use in the workplace will have an easier time enforcing the prohibition. Finally, employers save on health insurance premiums and other costs by offering smoking-cessation initiatives.