pass a law to ban the use of e-cigarettes where smoking is also prohibited, a summary of a survey posted by the NYC Department of Health shows that New Yorkers do not "favor a proposal that would prohibit smoking electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes in indoor public places."
The New York Tobacco Behavior and Public Opinion Survey was developed to "evaluate the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant activities, assess smoking behaviors of current smokers, and assess awareness, attitudes, and social norms about tobacco control policy strategies." According to the summary, New Yorkers were largely favorable towards increased prohibitions, restrictions and taxes on tobacco products, but not to banning e-cigarette use in public places.
Between 55%- 60% support prohibiting smoking in all outdoor areas on college and university campuses or facilities; all public parks; recreational areas, such as basketball courts and baseball fields; outdoor markets or street fairs; public beaches; in front of the entrances to buildings; with 51% of non-smokers even wanting to prohibit smoking on all sidewalks. Yet even with the popular opinion that smoking traditional cigarettes must be restricted, over two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed did not see a need for e-cigarettes to be banned along with them.
While this information is highly encouraging and proves that the City Council is seemingly creating legislation for which there is only minor public support, the fact that more than two thirds of New Yorkers do favor increasing state or city taxes on smokeless tobacco products is still troubling. Modern smokeless tobacco products, such as snus and tobacco lozenges, sticks and strips have similar low-health risks as e-cigarettes and should not be subjected to punitive "sin taxes" created for reducing use of high-risk products.
It seems although savvy New Yorkers are smarter than their own legislators when it comes to e-cigarettes, CASAA and other tobacco harm reduction advocates still have a lot of work to do to get the truth out to them about other safer smokeless tobacco alternatives.