The American Association of Public Health Physicians has stated that electronic cigarettes “could save the lives of 4 million of the 8 million current adult American smokers who will otherwise die of a tobacco-related illness over the next 20 years.” Despite this fact, Sen. Jeffrey Klein has proposed legislation, S7234, which would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes in the state of New York.
According to the American Association of Public Health Physicians, electronic cigarettes “could save the lives of 4 million of the 8 million current adult American smokers who will otherwise die of a tobacco-related illness over the next 20 years.”
Why, then, is Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-34th District) proposing legislation (S7234) that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes in the state of New York? Consumer advocates and public health experts demand an answer.
“To take electronic cigarettes off the market is to deny smokers a much safer alternative that is likely saving lives and improving the public health,” wrote Dr. Michael Siegel (tobaccoanalysisblogspot.com), professor at Boston University School of Public Health.
Similar laws were recently rejected in Maryland, Utah, Illinois, and California, where lawmakers proposed bans largely based on an FDA press release from July 2009. Dr. Murray Laugesen, of Health New Zealand, had harsh criticism for the FDA’s actions, saying the FDA “… condemned electronic cigarettes for containing cancer-causing nitrosamines. However, the levels in FDA-approved nicotine gum and patch are similar, and in cigarettes, much higher (up to 5000 times higher).”
Electronic cigarettes comprise a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge. When puffed, an e-cigarette creates a steam or mist that simulates smoking and delivers a measured dose of nicotine. The device does not, however, produce any actual smoke.
“Smokers smoke because they are addicted to nicotine in cigarettes,” said Dr. Richard Daines, New York State Health Commissioner. “But it is the smoke, not the nicotine, which causes a long list of diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema.”
New York resident Bill Friedman, who smoked for more than 20 years but now uses an electronic cigarette, says, “If they pass this law, I’ll be right back to smoking. I tried everything to stay away from cigarettes, and I’d given up on quitting. Then I switched to e-cigarettes. I feel better, I can smell things again and my wheezing is gone—not to mention that I don’t bother my wife anymore with secondhand smoke. Now the politicians want to take this away from me? Why?”