After twelve years of running this city and passing enough public health legislation to earn him the nickname “Nanny Bloomberg,” you didn’t think that Bloomberg, his commissioner of health, Dr. Thomas Farley, or the city council would let us enter into the new year without taking a few more steps closer toward becoming a healthier New York, did you? Of course not.
Two days ago, the city council approved a ban on e-cigarettes in public spaces like restaurants, bars and workplaces, as well as a ban on all styrofoam containers. While the styrofoam container ban will not go into effect for a year (during which time, the foam industry—yes, that’s a thing!—will attempt to prove that styrofoam can be recycled), the vaping ban will go into effect sooner, four months after the mayor signs it into law. The ban on e-cigarettes is one of the more contentious pieces of legislation that the city has passed lately, with vaping advocates claiming that an e-cigarette ban will actually increase the use of real cigarettes, while proponents of the ban say that e-cigarettes actually perpetuate the very culture of smoking that the city has fought so hard to vanquish in the last dozen years.
Whatever side of the ban you stand on, though, it’s almost certain that the push to popularize e-cigarettes has only just begun, and that e-cigarette users (and, for that matter, e-cigarette companies) will be doing their best to find loopholes in the new law so that vaping’s ubiquity will only continue to spread until, of course, that dreaded day when we all find out that e-cigarettes give you “electronic cancer” as I once heard someone suggest. Sure, there’s no such thing as “electronic cancer”…yet. But don’t forget, Bloomberg’s leaving office, and anything’s possible in de Blasio’s New York.
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