Sunday, April 6, 2014

Call to Action! New York State Bill Would Ban Sale of E-Cigarette Liquid

UPDATE 6-20-14: New York State vapers and harm reduction advocates can breath a brief, yet deserved, sigh of relief.  The 2014 legislative session has concluded for the year and no anti-vaping legislation has passed.

Although this concludes the NY State Calls to Action (favorably), advocates should remain vigilant in the "off season".  Please continue to make connections with lawmakers (state & local) and help educate them as to the benefits of smoke free products like e-cigarettes.

Thank You!

UPDATE 5-3-14:  SB 6939 , along with three other bills, is currently on the agenda for the Senate Health Committee's meeting on TUESDAY, May 6, 2014.  At this time, no opportunity for public comment is provided for at the meeting.  SB 6939 is now part of a CONSOLIDATED Call to Action for all four bills that are scheduled for the Health Committee's May 6, 2014 meeting.  Please see the CONSOLIDATED Call to Action for details on how you can help.


Please also be sure to take action against other New York bills that would impose punitive excise taxes on e-cigarette sales and ban e-cigarette usage where smoking is banned:


 (last updated 4/5/2014)

If enacted, SB 6939 would:
  • Ban the sale of electronic cigarette liquids (e-liquids) to adults
In 2012, just as the New York Senate was preparing to pass a common sense law banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, Senator Kemp Hannon (R - Nassau County) introduced a bill that would have banned e-cigarette sales to adults. Thankfully, Senator Hannon's bill was ignored by the New York Senate.  Now, two years later, he is back and trying to ban electronic cigarette liquid sales to adults by crudely capitalizing on recent media reports that have overestimated the hazards of electronic cigarette liquids.    

Please help save e-cigarettes in your state by taking against on this Call to Action.
Remember, you can register to receive free CASAA e-mail alerts  regarding this and other legislation in New York and across the United States. We will alert you when there are  opportunities to voice your concerns to the members of the New York State Legislature.   

Please contact the members of the New York Senate Health Committee and other elected officials and let them know:

1. You are a New York resident and would like them to OPPOSE SB 6939 because it would senselessly ban the sale of electronic cigarette liquids. You would also like them to oppose any bills that would enact punitive taxes on e-cigarettes or treat e-cigarettes like combustible cigarettes.  (If you are responding to this Call to Action and are not a state resident, please mention any connection you have to the area, for example, you travel to New York on vacation or have friends/family in the area.)

2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette or another smoke-free product has changed your life.  (You can stop here -- short and respectful letters are helpful, but if you wish to write more, see below for possible points to discuss)

3.  Explain that:
  • Prohibiting the sale of e-cigarette liquids would harm public health by making it more difficult for New York smokers to acquire far less hazardous alternatives to smoking.
  • This ban would also cost the State of New York millions of dollars in lost sales taxes, income taxes, and other sources of tax revenue, as it would: (a) shut down small and medium sized business across New York; (b) put more people on unemployment; and (c) lead existing and future e-cigarette users to simply purchase products over the Internet from out-of-state companies.
  • The threat of e-cigarette liquid has been greatly exaggerated for political purposes. While it is true that plenty of consumer products pose risks to children -- including medications, household products, cosmetics, e-cigarette liquids, tobacco products -- prohibition is not the answer. The Legislature should look to education, parental responsibility, and childproof caps and warning labels (already used on the majority of e-liquids and something that should be a uniform standard across the nation) rather than prohibition.
  • Poison Control Center data released by the CDC showed that from September 2010 to February 2014, there were nearly 700% more calls relating to traditional tobacco products versus any kind of e-cigarette product (2,405 for e-cigarettes vs. 16,248 for tobacco products).  Hospitalizations were rare and the only death reported from an e-cigarette poisoning was from an adult who committed suicide by intentionally injecting e-cigarette liquid into his body.
  • In 2012 alone, 193,443 calls to Poison Control Centers involved household cleaning agents, 54,445 involved alcoholic beverages, 11,848 were caused by ink, and 20,306 were caused by toothpaste. Where are the bills to ban these products?
  • The sponsor of SB 6939, Sen. Kemp Hannon, proposed a bill to ban sales of all electronic cigarette products to adults in 2012.  SB 6939 is not about protecting children; it's about prohibition. New York State law already rightfully bans the sale of e-cigarettes to children. 
  • Passage of SB 6939 would benefit the large tobacco companies (Altria, RJ Reynolds & Lorillard) by protecting them from competition!  While these companies do sell electronic cigarette products, NONE sell e-cigarette liquid. SB 6939 would shut down the segment of the e-cigarette industry most responsible for the major declines in cigarette sales we have seen over the past 3 years.  
  • A recent report by Wells Fargo Securities' Bonnie Herzog stated that 'tank system' e-cigarettes (products that are filled with liquid before usage) are the fastest growing product category in the e-cigarette industry.  This is not a niche market. Indeed, the majority of companies in the e-cigarette industry exclusively sell e-cigarette liquid and 'tank system' products.
  • One of the reasons why e-cigarettes are such a successful alternative to smoking is that the diversity in the marketplace allows consumers to find the device and e-cigarette liquid that work best for them.  Eliminating e-cigarette liquid would destroy the diversity in the marketplace, and consumers would suffer.  
  • Electronic cigarettes are widely available on the the Internet from retailers in nearly all 50 states and around the world.  While New York may be able to succeed in shutting down small businesses that sell e-cigarette liquid within its borders, it has next to no hope of interrupting interstate commerce.
  • The FDA is likely to announce their proposed regulations for e-cigarettes in the next six months. These regulations will, at bare minimum, almost certainly set out packaging requirements.  It would be ridiculous for the New York Legislature to ban their sale to adults when federal regulations are on their way.
4.  Direct them to the website, as well as the CASAA Research Library, for more information. 

5. Be sure to sign your letter with your full name and address (or at least city name). 


We have provided three Advocacy Options.  You are encouraged to do as many as you are able.

Advocacy Option 1:

Senate Co-President Dean Skelos (R) - (518) 455-3171
Senate Co-President Jeffrey Klein (IDC) -  (518) 455-3595
 Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) -  (518) 455-3791
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D) - (518) 455-5373

CASAA is asking our members in New York to please reach out to these critically important elected officials in the New York State Senate and Assembly.  Ask the operator to pass along a message to the elected officials: you are a New York citizen and you would like them to OPPOSE any bills that would ban sales of electronic cigarette liquid to adults, enact punitive sin taxes on e-cigarette products, or ban usage where smoking is banned.  In a couple sentences, tell the operator how e-cigarettes have changed your life, that this issue matters to you as a voter, and thank them for passing along your thoughts

Advocacy Option 2:

Please be sure to also contact your New York State Senator ('Find My Senator') and New York State Assembly representatives.  Ask them to OPPOSE any bills that would ban sales of electronic cigarette liquid to adults, enact punitive sin taxes on e-cigarette products, or ban usage where smoking is banned

Advocacy Option 3:


We have separated out the members of the New York Senate Health Committee into two lists: legislators from the NYC / Long Island area and legislators from other areas of New York.  As you can see, each individual member has a District Number (see here for a Senate district map) and a general area that they represent. 

In addition to sending e-mails, we strongly encourage our members in New York to make phone calls to the offices of the members in or around the country in which you live.  Legislators need to know that people who live in or around their district are passionate about this issue.  E-mails alone will not accomplish that.  If you have a favorite vape shop in New York, please ask them to also drive phone calls to the offices of specific members.


Sen. Kemp Hannon (R - Dist. 06; Nassau County) SPONSOR
Phone: 518-455-2200

Sen. Simcha Felder (D / R - Dist. 17; Kings / Brooklyn)
Phone: (518) 455-2754
Fax: (518) 426-6931

Sen. Martin J. Golden (R - Dist. 22; Kings)
Phone: (518) 455-2730
Fax: (718) 238-6170

Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D - Dist. 36; Bronx, Westchester)
Phone: (518) 455-2061
Fax: (518) 426-6998

Sen. Brad Hoylman (D - Dist. 27; NYC)
Phone: (212) 633-8052
Fax: (212) 633-8096

Sen. Jack M. Martins (R - Dist. 7; Nassau)
Phone: 518-455-3265
Fax: 518-426-6739

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D - Dist. 25; Kings)
Phone: (518) 455-3451
Fax: (518) 426-6854

Sen. José Peralta (D - Dist. 13; Queens)
Phone: (718) 205-3881
Fax: (718) 205-4145

Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D - Dist. 33; Bronx)
Phone: 518-455-3395
Fax: 518-426-6858
Fax: 718-933-2825

Sen. Diane J. Savino (D - Dist. 23; Kings, Richmond / Staten Island)
Phone: (518) 455-2437
Fax: (518) 426-6943

Sen. José M. Serrano (D - Dist. 29; NYC, Bronx)
Phone: (518) 455-2795
Fax: (518) 426-6886

Sen. Tony Avella (D - Dist. 11; Queens) Co-Sponsor, Not a Committee Member 
Phone: 518-455-2210
Fax: 518-426-6736 



Sen. Greg Ball (R - Dist. 40; Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester)
Phone: (518) 455-3111
Fax: (518) 426-6977

Sen. Hugh T. Farley (R - Dist. 49; Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Saratoga, Schenectady)
Phone: (518) 455-2181
Fax: (518) 455-2271

Sen. William J. Larkin Jr. (R - Dist. 39; Orange, Rockland, Ulster)
Phone: (518) 455-2770

Sen. Ted O'Brien (D - Dist. 55; Monroe, Ontario)
Phone: (518) 455-2162
Fax: (518) 426-6925

Sen. James L. Seward (R - Dist. 51; Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Otsego, Schoharie, Tompkins, Ulster)
Phone: (518) 455-3131

Sen. Catharine Young (R - Dist. 57; Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Livingston)
Phone: (518) 455-3563
Fax: (518) 426-6905

Comma delimited email list:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


David Holmes said...

I will not obey any laws designed to kill me.

Shawn said...

They're fools. You can ban e-liquids, but that would mean banning legal products to make eliquids as well, and that's just not going to happen. I hope I'm alive when America has finally decided that the government has pushed too hard for too long. The gruesome results will epic.

SenseiNYC said...

Smoker for 30 years. Nic gum, no good. Nic mints, gag. Cold turkey, often a failure. The patch? I'm allergic to the skin contact. I had a friend who died from the use of Chantix, so that's really not an option. It's not just the nic, it's the hand to mouth as well.

Loss of revenue, no alternatives, increase in taxation on tobacco and decrease in options? Sounds pretty messed up to me. I quit June 2013 and haven't looked back since because of vaping. I feel better, I breathe better and I smell better!

Concerned American E-cig Supporter said...

In 1969, age 15, I became addicted to tobacco. I remained addicted for 42 years. Possibly because smoking was the only bad habit I had, and the fact I was athletic, I was lucky enough to be one of those people who never suffered any obvious adverse consequences (e.g., coughing). Then in 2011 my doctor discovered new research showing a common hormone medication I was on when combined with cigarette TAR (not nicotine) could cause a stroke, we agreed I should quit smoking. She offered me Chantix. Around this time a friend told me about electronic cigarettes, and helped me order them from a responsible online vendor. From the moment I inhaled one, I never smoked another tobacco cigarette. As for those "adverse health consequences" I'd thought I'd not had from tobacco? Well, once I switched from tobacco to e-cig vapor, my circulation improved to the point where my arthritis pain disappeared. I was amazed how at age 55, switching from tobacco to electronic cigarettes has improved my health: I feel like a kid who never smoked; the level of exercise I'm now capable of reminds me of my youth. My doctor strongly approves of electronic cigarettes. Politically speaking, I think it's outrageous that local municipalities around the US have been passing illogical legislation about e-cigs, even in the face of medical data from studies which are now available, which so clearly demonstrates their safety on a molecular level; why would towns, counties, and entire states legislate against a product that 1.) now has widespread, rapidly growing support from the medical community 2.) the FDA is about to announce regulation (i.e., why not wait)
and 3.) does not harm others (unlike smoke, there is no danger from second-hand vapor) 4.) has potential to create jobs as well as valuable tax revenues for individual states. I can only surmise that municipalities' actions ahead of soon-to-be-announced federal (FDA) regulations has to do with policing: from a distance, an electronic cigarette can be mistaken for a tobacco cigarette. My biggest concern is if e-cigs are made illegal (or too difficult for the consumer to obtain), people will revert to smoking tobacco. This would be a lost opportunity to save lives.

Greta Frasier said...

I smoked 3 packs of cigs a day for about 35 years, I lived with upper repertory infections and had a constant cough. I knew that cigs were killing me but I was hopelessly addicted. Looking back I cant believe the power they had over me. I tried everything, Gum. chantex and patches. I even tried acupuncture and hypnotherapy, nothing worked. I decided I had had enough and even though I knew cigs were killing me I would never try to quit again.I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to quit so it made no sense to keep trying. One day I met up with a friend that used e cigs and I tried one of hers and that was it! I have not smoked in well over 2 years. I feel like a new person. I don't understand why anyone would try to ban e liquid there must be a hidden agenda. I don't think this bill will ever pass but if it does I hope what ever this agenda is its worth the lives of thousands or maybe even millions of people. I am 55 years old and I have lived my entire life in NY state but I will move. NY State is a nice place but, I wont loose my life to live here.

CyborgNYC said...

Smoked on and off for 20 years. Never could quit until I found vaping. I feel better and smell better too! Big Pharma does not want to see e-cigs succeed where they failed so miserably!

Mitchh[: said...

Shawn, the bill will still allow juice to be sold, but without nicotine. People will then try to purchase it to add it to their own juices, with little/no knowledge to accurately measure it. Uncut nicotine can be up to 6 times more concentrated than most e-liquids, and that's when people will really start harming themselves. Unintentionally, but unfortunately true. It can lead to direct skin exposure, inconsistency in nic levels of the liquids they consume, and possible overdosing.

mapsgal said...

I have a similar story. 35 years of smoking and many unsuccessful attempts to quite smoking and then--poof--I tasted the magic off a friend's cape. There and then I decided to switch. I didn't even have to force myself to quit smoking. It just happened naturally. I look at the last half pack that still lies on a shelf untouched since Dec. with 8 cigarettes--a testament to the end of half a lifetime of evil toxins. Vapes are truly wondrous. But I am not surprised to see that big businesses want to control it. Don't fool yourself. America is run by the big corporations of which the tobacco companies are a major part. Can you imagine the revenue losses they are seeing now. All those years with legislation the tobacco giants managed to stay afloat because they could count on the nicotine addiction of all of us. And, now out of the blue, there is a wildly successful alternative and they are scrambling to hold back the tidal wave that will sweep them away. The very same senators they used to help keep cigarettes on the market are the ones they are using now to push through anti e-cig and e-juice legislation. They don't care about the successful stories of individual like you and I. The problem is the ecigs and ejuices are a mom n pop business. Yes, they are popping up all over the place but they don't have the collective clout of the tobacco companies. Add to this the many ignorant people out there who freak out if you accidentally sneeze in their direction and you have a recipe of frantic and misguided legislation. I have no doubt that tougher sanctions are coming down the pipeline. I am sure the govt. wants to get its hands on some of the lucrative ecig cash. So one way or the other its going to be legislated like crazy. Where there is a will there is a way, though. We humans are a tougher collective force than all that Big Brother can throw at us. We will find a way. Did marijuana legislation stop anyone from buying and smoking? Sadly eliquid will probably be pushed underground in some places. But long live the non-conformists in America in its many nooks and crannies. Let's hope that Colorado takes the lead on this too. :)