New York City May Ban Vaping Because It Looks Like Smoking

FIN e-cigarette adFIN e-cigarette adThe New York City Council is considering a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in bars, restaurant, and other "public places"—not because there is any evidence that the devices pose a hazard but because they look too much like regular cigarettes. Councilman James Gennaro, a sponsor of the proposed ban, tells The New York Times, "We see these cigarettes are really starting to proliferate, and it's unacceptable." Why is it unacceptable? According to the Times, "Mr. Gennaro said children who could not differentiate between regular and electronic smoking were getting the message that smoking is socially acceptable."

So it is not the product that bothers Gennaro as much as the message it supposedly sends. Presumably he would have the same complaint if people started wearing T-shirts proclaiming that "Smoking Is Cool," although banning those would be constitutionally problematic. Might there be a way to address Gennaro's concern about the impact that the sight of vaping has on impressionable young minds without resorting to the use of force? I'm just spitballing here, but maybe parents could explain to their children the difference between e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a propylene glycol vapor, and conventional cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a cloud of toxins and carcinogens generated by burning tobacco. Even if Gennaro does not trust people to educate their offspring about such matters, surely a measure short of a total ban could accomplish the goal he has in mind. How about taking a page from the city's regulations regarding toy guns by restricting e-cigarettes to bright fluorescent colors, so they can be readily distinguished from the real thing? 

Some might question Gennaro's premise that children should never see adults doing something (or seeming to do something) that children are not supposed to do. If kids must be shielded from the sight of vaping because it looks like smoking, perhaps they also should be shielded from the sight of drinking—not just of alcoholic beverages but of any drink that resembles an alcoholic beverage. After all, how does an innocent child know the difference between O'Doul's and Budweiser, or between a Coke that contains Jack Daniels and one that does not?

Gennaro's rationale for banning vaping in bars and restaurants actually is similar to the motivation for banning smoking in bars and restaurants. The official rationale for such laws is protecting employees, and their popularity can be explained by the simple fact that most people find tobacco smoke distasteful, whether or not they actually worry about the long-term health consequences of sitting in a smoky bar for 30 years. But from a "public health" perspective, the real payoff, in terms of reducing morbidity and mortality, is deterring smoking by making is less convenient and less socially acceptable. Gennaro worries that e-cigarettes will undermine that goal.

That seems rather implausible, since the main selling point of e-cigarettes is that they eliminate tobacco, its combustion products, and the health hazards associated with them. Although the Times says vaping in public remains legal thanks to "a loophole" in New York's smoking ban, the truth is that vaping remains legal precisely because vaping is not smoking. By seeking to equate the two, control freaks like Gennaro may achieve the opposite of their avowed aim, increasing rather than reducing smoking-related illness. As Craig Weiss, president of the e-cigarette company NJoy, tells the Times, "If you make it just as inconvenient to use an electronic cigarette as a tobacco cigarette, people are just going to keep smoking their Marlboros."

Yesterday Zenon Evans noted that Chicago also is considering a ban on vaping.

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  • Almanian!||

    Lol! Jack Frapp is NOT gonna be happy about that!

    wwww.fuckNYCCityCouncil.de/intheasswithahot/poker

  • ||

    That's a death reserved for British royalty. Do you really think the NYC City Council deserves that?

  • Rhywun||

    No, they deserve something worse.

  • Killaz||

    Like the environmentalist conman getting skinned alive in Michael Crichton's State of Fear?

  • Rhywun||

    I'll take your word it, but yes that sounds about right.

  • Aloysious||

    New Yorkers are getting the government they deserve. How is that Bloombergian style of elected official working for you now?

  • ||

    I doubt this kind of nanny statism will stop under de Blasio.

  • Rhywun||

    New Yorkers are getting the government they deserve.

    The 25% who actually vote deserve it - the rest of us don't.

  • Mickey Rat||

    You are allowing those 25% to choose for you, so, yes, you do.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You are allowing those 25% to choose for you, so, yes, you do.

    Fucking nonsense.

  • Great+Grandma||

    Doesn't the left ever believe in personal freedoms? Why does the left always think they have a right to force their views on everyone else?

    Something is very seriously wrong with their thinking!!!

  • ||

    So it is not the product that bothers Gennaro as much as the message it supposedly sends. Presumably he would have the same complaint if people started wearing T-shirts proclaiming that "Smoking Is Cool," although banning those would be constitutionally problematic.

    That's actually a brilliant idea. How about smokers and libertarians protest this 'For the Children' bullshit by wearing 'Smoking is Cool' shirts outside NYC public schools and City Hall?

  • ||

    OT: Yale prof found dead in New Haven jail:

    See was charged with violating a protective order, interfering with Police and threatening in the second degree.

    The guy was charged with, uhm, violating a protective order in his own home. And interfering with police trying to arrest him for this in his own home.

    Hartman said See was put in policy custody after he was treated for a minor injury at Yale-New Haven Hospital resulting from a confrontation with his partner on Saturday afternoon.

    Was the 'minor injury' that killed him a result of scuffling with his partner or with police?

    “He yelled that it was his house and that he shouldn’t be arrested. See fought with Officers when they tried handcuffing him,” Hartman said. “As See was led to a Police car, he yelled to one of the arresting Officers, ‘I will kill you … I will destroy you.’”

    And nothing else happened.

    “Marshals immediately provided CPR and other lifesaving efforts, until relieved by New Haven Fire and Rescue,” Stearley-Hebert said. She added that an internal review is being conducted to make sure policies and procedures were followed.
  • prolefeed||

    If kids must be shielded from the sight of vaping because it looks like smoking, perhaps they also should be shielded from the sight of drinking—not just of alcoholic beverages but of any drink that resembles an alcoholic beverage.

    Already did that in Utah, sort of -- went to a restaurant here, and after getting no help from the server about which microbrew beer to get ("no one who works here has tried any of these drinks", which I belatedly realized meant it was an all-Mormon wait staff), I ordered a draft.

    Instead of using the realistic-looking but fake draft spigots in plain view, he had to comply with state law by going into a hidden area to pour the beer, because * gasp * pouring beer in view of everyone else isn't allowed by the theocrats ruling the legislature.

    Oh, and all draft beers here are restricted to a max of 4% ABV.

    And other nanny-state shite.

  • Great+Grandma||

    This simply points out that Mormons are like lefties in that they think they are so very smart they know what is best for everyone and they have a right to force their 'superior views' on everyone.

    Disgusting intolerance isn't it...

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Ignorant question here from a non-smoker. What if eciggies were made in some completely unciggie shape, say, just for sake of argument, a shape to fit over the nose, maybe like Groucho Marx classes but without the eyebrows and stuff?

    I know it wouldn't satisfy the nannies, but I wonder if it would still be acceptable to eciggie vapers. It would look sill, but it would pass the nannies' alleged (pardon me) smell test of not looking like a real ciggie and call their bluff, so to speak.

  • Jquip||

    Well, as a smoker, I'm somewhat stuck wondering why a non smoker has strange questions about non smoking.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No.

    For some part of the addiction is the act of smoking, not necessarily the nicotine alone. The need to duplicate smoking as closely as possible was key for me being able to quit smoking.

  • ||

    In Canada it is possible to buy ecigs, but not nicotine-containing liquid.

    Canuck authorities don't even try to justify their nanny-state assholishness; it is simply FYTW -- in the name of "peace, order and good government".

  • Milano||

    I still don't get the logic. How is banning something going to make it socially unacceptable? Speeding is socially acceptable and still illegal.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Because statists seem to live in a fantasy world where it's government that determines social mores.

  • JidaKida||

    Dude seems to know what he is talking about.

    www.Ano-VPN.tk

  • brec||

    Well done, Jacob.

    (typo: "making is [sic] less convenient"

  • ||

    OT: Marijuana-smoking Mountie stirs the pot in Canada

    [...]

    Francis told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which aired video footage of him smoking a joint in his RCMP red serge, that pot has helped relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress related to 21 years on the job.

    His prescription allows for three grams, or up to 15 joints, a day, though he said he does not typically smoke that much.

    "I get up in the morning, have my coffee and the marijuana. I go at lunchtime, have a marijuana joint, and then again in the evening. That would be my medical regime. But that may change with my tolerance to THC. It may take two joints in the morning, I don't know," he said.

    "I'm still functional," he added. "But your nervous system is relaxed, and that makes a big difference."

    [...]

  • Paul.||

    in his RCMP red serge, that pot has helped relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress related to 21 years on the job.

    ...ahem...

    RCMP...Canada...PTSD.

    One of those doesn't belong.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    in his RCMP red serge, that pot has helped relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress related to 21 years on the job.

    ...ahem...

    RCMP...Canada...PTSD.

    One of those doesn't belong.

    The stigma for pot smoking is still such that too many people feel the need to justify doing it for some noble reason.

    He can't just come out and say "drinking sucks, I'd rather smoke pot", he has to give some lame BS line about his job being so stressful he just has to smoke pot.

  • Gene||

    I just listened to the interview with him on As It Happens while driving home from work just now, to me he sounded pathetic (at least in the follow up when Carol called him at home later in the day after they came and took his uniforms) and naive.

  • Entropy Void||

    Forget it, Jacob ... It's Nannytown ...

  • Reginald Perrin||

    It's all about money

  • Seamus||

    the Times says vaping in public remains legal thanks to "a loophole" in New York's smoking ban

    While they're filling in that loophole, will someone please also close the candy cigarette loophole. For teh chillruns.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Can they just put a bright orange tip on them so cops can tell they're not real cigs?

  • pan fried wylie||

    Every ecig I've tried has an LED-lit tip.
    Blu ones are fucking BLUE ferchrists sake. You know, like those alcohol-burning cigs....

  • Locke||

    Not to mention e-cigs like the eGo look absolutely nothing like a cigarette

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Not all of them have an LED, but that should be an even bigger clue that it isn't a fucking cigarette.

    I've had LEDs with blue and green lights. In fact, most of those that I've used DON'T have a red/orange LED.

  • ||

    Like arresting some with toy guns,huh?

  • Baelzar||

    Typical. They should be ENCOURAGING e-cigs.

    It's water vapor, for fuck's sake.

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