Governor Cuomo Signs Bills to Protect New York's Youth from Harmful Effects of Cigarettes
On September 5, 2012 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed two bills to protect New York's children and teenagers from the harmful effects of cigarettes.
The new laws include measures to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the entrances or exits of any public or private schools (A.10141-B / S.6854-B), as well as prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18 (A.9044-B /S.2926-B).
"Cigarette smoking – as well as exposure to secondhand smoke – is dangerous, particularly for our children," Governor Cuomo said. "These two new laws will strengthen our state's protections to help our young people avoid nicotine addiction as well as the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. I thank the sponsors of both these bills for their efforts to protect the health of our youth."
Prohibiting Smoking Outside School Entrances
The new law expands the ban on smoking on school grounds to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of public and private schools. Residences or residential property within the 100 foot perimeter would be excluded from the new law's smoking ban. This new law takes effect immediately.
Prohibiting Sale of Electronic Cigarettes to Minors
The majority of Americans who use tobacco products become addicted to the nicotine in those products before reaching the age of 18 years. Electronic cigarettes (often known as “e-cigarettes”) are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke. E-cigarettes could serve as a pathway to nicotine addiction for children, leading them to smoke cigarettes and use other tobacco products. Moreover, e-cigarette refill cartridges, often sold without protective packaging, contain high concentrations of nicotine which could be fatal if accidentally ingested by young children. In addition, the FDA has warned that that e-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans or that may otherwise be unsafe.
The new law prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to individuals who are less than 18 years of age. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously, and the new law takes effect on January 1, 2013.
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal said, "I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed my bill to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and to regulate them in the same way that other tobacco products are currently regulated. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, though currently unregulated and potentially dangerous to human health, are manufactured in flavors meant to appeal to young people, such as bubblegum and chocolate. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, the highly addictive ingredient found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, which will hook yet another generation of young people on a deadly habit. We will be saving lives by preventing a generation of young people from sampling that first, addictive cigarette."