LATEST UPDATE (11/20/2013): THIS CALL TO ACTION HAS ENDED.
Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law two tobacco ordinances. CASAA is pleased to announce that the City Council did not move forward with provisions of the original ordinances that would have: enacted a de facto ban on e-cigarette flavors; defined e-cigarettes as "tobacco products"; required a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes; banned price discounts and coupons for e-cigarettes; require a tobacco license to sell e-cigarettes; and banned the display of all smoke-free alternatives.
In the end, the only portion of the two Bloomberg bills that impacted e-cigarettes was that the age of purchase was moved from 18 to 21.
CASAA would like to thank all the vapers who attended May's hearing, as well as the hundreds or thousands who sent e-mails or made phone calls to the members of the Health Committee.
[legislative tracking for 1020-2013]
[legislative tracking for 1021-2013]
[full text of all ordinances]
If enacted, these ordinances would:
- Redefine "tobacco products" under New York City law to include e-cigarettes and related components, parts, and accessories (both ordinances)
- Ban the display of e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in retail stores (Int 1020-2013)
- BAN the sale of e-cigarettes or e-liquid in flavors other than tobacco, menthol, mint and wintergreen in areas other than an age-restricted "tobacco bar." New York City law prohibits "tobacco bars" that were not open in 2001, and thus even an e-cigarette store in New York City would be prohibited from selling flavored e-cigarettes! (Int 1021-2013)
- Ban coupons for e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
2. Explain that if the New York City Council wishes to regulate e-cigarettes, it should be done through a standalone ordinance. As is, there has been zero media coverage of the fact that these ordinances would ban sales of certain electronic cigarettes. This is an end runaround the legislative process.
3. If you use e-liquid that has a pleasant flavor added (such as fruit, candy, beverage), tell the members of the Health Committee that this has helped you quit smoking and describe how. Further explain that a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health could not find a single nonsmoking youth who had tried an electronic cigarette, let alone a flavored electronic cigarette.
4. Explain that the electronic cigarettes are far less harmful than cigarettes, and that many former adult smokers have quit smoking by switching to less harmful alternatives, including products that contain flavors. These ordinances would harm public health by discouraging smokers from switching.
5. Note that e-cigarettes are NOT traditional tobacco products, and that the licensing laws of New York City are not appropriate for the sale of a product like e-cigarettes.
6. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.
Comma delimited email list:
Hon. Albert Vann (District 36) (D - Brooklyn)
Hon. Maria Del Carmen Arroyo (District 17) (D - Bronx)
Hon. Helen D. Foster (District 16) (D - Bronx)
Hon. Joel Rivera (District 15) (D - Bronx)
Hon. Inez E. Dickins (District 9) (D - Manhattan)
Hon. Rosie Mendez (District 2) (D - Manhattan)
Hon. Julissa Ferreras (District 21) (D - Queens)
Hon. Peter F. Vallone, Jr. (District 22) (D - Queens)
Hon. James G. Van Bramer (District 26) (D - Queens)
PAST UPDATES ON THESE ORDINANCES
LATEST UPDATE (10/23/2013): CASAA has received word that the New York City Health Committee could vote on these ordinances in the very near future, with a possible target date of Wednesday, October 30th. It is imperative that vapers in and around NYC drive phone calls and e-mails to the offices of the New York City Council members in opposition to not just the flavor ban, but also other nonsensical approaches like banning the display of e-cigarettes in retail outlets.
UPDATE (9/25/2013): These ordinances have yet to be scheduled for a vote. Vapers should continue to contact the City Council members to express their opposition to these ordinances as proposed by the Bloomberg Administration.
UPDATE (8/10/2013): CASAA would like to thank journalist Christopher Robbins for exposing this backdoor ban attempt on the Gothamist. From there, numerous outlets picked up the story, including Fox News, New York Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The Week / Yahoo, Convenience Store Decisions (with comments by CASAA's Gregory Conley), and others. Dr. Michael Siegel also wrote about this ban attempt on his blog.
UPDATE (8/7/2013): CASAA and NYC vapers had previously been led to believe that the Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would be putting forward amendments to their proposed tobacco bills to ensure that e-cigarettes would not be treated the same as deadly tobacco cigarettes.
CASAA has just learned that the Department of Health completely disregarded the concerns of vapers. An updated ordinance was leaked to CASAA and no substantive changes have been made. Indeed, the ordinance is actually worse than it was before, as the sponsors added language that absurdly claims that e-cigarettes are designed to DETER smokers from quitting.
This move comes after a May 2, 2013 meeting of the NYC Committee on Health, during which a representative from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stated that the Department had no intention of trying to regulate e-cigarettes.
The next meeting of the NYC Council Committee on Health is not currently scheduled. We will update as we learn more.