Forbes Editorial by Gilbert Ross M.D., Executive Director of the American Council on Science and Health" title="American Council on Science and Health Weighs in On NYC E-Cig Ban">forbes will drive smokers back

Forbes Editorial by Gilbert Ross M.D., Executive Director of the American Council on Science and Health

There is no reason to question why soon-to-be-former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has once again sic’d his attack dog of a Health Commissioner, Tom Farley, on another innocent victim: electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). As Edmund Hilary said, “Because it’s there” is enough of a reason, and because Bloomberg has decided the devices might possibly pollute — not the air, certainly (more about that later), but his “legacy.”

As we all know, The Mayor is responsible for all the good things that have occurred in our City over the past dozen years, including the truly marvelous (decline in smoking rates) and the borderline (the Disney-fication of Times Square). But let’s not forget all those other health miracles he tried to foist on our unsuspecting populace: the “large-sized” soda ban, the soda tax, and now this inane effort to render e-cigs obsolete before their time.

A few months ago, a rumor spread that the Mayor’s new tobacco-control program was going to illegalize e-cigs, or ban them all aside from those that contained no nicotine. Note that since supplying the addictive drug nicotine is the main point of helping addicted smokers to kick cigarettes by using e-cigs (“vaping”), allowing impotent e-cigs on the market while banning the effective ones seemed perverse to many. Thankfully, that proposal died before birth.

Or did it? A few weeks ago, a new tobacco program was sent down from on high, raising the age limit for purchasing tobacco products to a new U.S. record, twenty-one — including e-cigs of course, but otherwise avoiding them entirely. That is, until the day before Thanksgiving, when suddenly a new City Council measure was slated for discussion only a few days hence, on Dec. 4th: the plan was to ban e-cigs everywhere real ones were excluded, invoking the “Smoke-free Air Act” (another feather in the Bloombergian chapeau). A spirited hearing before the Health Committee ensued (at which I testified).

Although it seemed quite clear that vapor is not smoke, Health Commissar Farley continued to insist that he and his troopers would have trouble distinguishing vapers from smokers, so out in the cold they should all go. He also asserted that to protect innocent bystanders from toxic “second-hand vapor,” e-cigs vapors must be confined to the outdoors: “We just don’t know what’s in it,” he said. To which I responded, “Yes, we do.” At least two well-done scientific publications have evaluated the contents of e-cig vapor and have found nothing to be concerned about: not for bystanders, and highly likely not for vapers themselves.

Yet, the measure refuses to die. It will come up for a City Council vote on this Wednesday the 18th at high noon, having been rushed through the normal deliberative process, which as anyone who has worked with the NYC bureaucracy knows, usually takes about ten times the length this measure has experienced. If it passes, however, Bloomberg-Farley will not be able to look back upon this as another health benefit for our city’s smokers. Rather, they will be held to account when many ex-smokers relapse to the real thing by being forced back into proximity to the toxic, deadly cigarettes they thought they had finally escaped from.

Listen up, e-cig haters: vapor is not smoke, and the “Smoke-free Air Act” should not apply to them. This irresponsible “leadership” is fading away, but will it disappear in time to save e-cigarettes? Let’s hope so.

Gilbert Ross, M.D. is the Medical and Executive Director of the American Council on Science and Health.

Read more from Forbes

Time:" title="Time: Regulating E-Cigarettes Could Have Unintended Consequences">unintended consequences time


From Time:

Regulations of electronic cigarettes are expected to be a top priority for states and cities in 2014. But some of the new laws being considered — bans on use in public places like restaurants and bars, and high sin taxes — are based on the assumption that electronic cigarettes, battery powered devices that produce a nicotine vapor, are exactly like the real thing. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the thinking goes, it must be a duck.

But it isn’t that simple, say e-cigarette makers, and if policy makers overreach, they’ll face a fight with e-cigarette smokers and manufacturers who say it’s irrational to treat electronic cigarettes like regular cigarettes, and that the laws, which might dissuade smokers from switching to a safer product, may even be bad for public health.

“I’m looking forward to federal regulation. But each state doing its own thing in absence of a federal framework, I think is a mistake,” says Miguel Martin, the president of LOGIC Technology, an electronic cigarette maker in New Jersey.

It seems like every week another city or state has a new electronic cigarette rule under consideration. Utah, North Dakota and New Jersey ban using electronic cigarettes in public places like bars and restaurants. New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are considering similar bans. Maryland’s Prince George’s county, a suburb of Washington, has agreed to hold off on a ban pending the results of a study on the risks. Proponents of such bans say second-hand vapor might be harmful and that electronic cigarettes glamorize smoking at a time when anti-smoking advocates have largely succeeded in stigmatizing it.

Minnesota is the only state that taxes electronic cigarettes (at 95% of their wholesale price), but industry insiders say they expect electronic cigarette taxes to proliferate in 2014. Utah, Oklahoma, and Hawaii have tried and failed to impose taxes on electronic cigarettes. Lawmakers in South Carolina and Oregon have also considered electronic cigarette taxes, making them likely candidates to continue the debate next year.

The flurry of state regulation has started without any guidance from the federal government — the FDA, which missed a deadline to start the regulatory process in October, says it will announce its intention to regulate electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product in December, kicking off a regulatory process that will take months.

E-cigarette makers say the patchwork of state laws without a federal framework will result in an unintelligent approach to electronic cigarettes that could lead to unintended consequences.

LOGIC’s Martin, a former executive for tobacco giant Phillip Morris, says that absent federal regulation, state taxes would punish retailers who check ID and create incentives for people to buy electronic cigarettes over the Internet, where ID isn’t as easily verified. LOGIC prohibits sales to customers under 18. “There’s a knee jerk reaction to tax. It has cigarette in the name, ‘I don’t know what the thing is, let’s treat it like a cigarette.’ What if science turns out to show that there’s a health benefit to using e-cigarettes over cigarettes and you have a financial disincentive to use them?” he says.

Craig Weiss, the CEO of the Arizona-based manufacturer NJOY, agrees. “If you make it just as inconvenient and expensive to smoke an electronic cigarette as a Marlboro, people are going to keep smoking Marlboros. Is that really the unintended consequence they want? To keep them smoking? Because that is what they are doing and we know the consequence of that is people are going to die a painful and early death.”

In response, some advocates of regulation in the public health community say it doesn’t make sense to subject non-smokers to any kind of fine particle pollution, even though there is wide agreement that e-cigarettes are much less toxic than traditional cigarettes.

Stanton Glantz, a professor at the University of California San Francisco medical school and a leading expert on the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke, says electronic cigarette vapor still emits harmful fine particles in the air. “If you look at absolute levels of risk [of electronic cigarettes], they are pretty bad, because a cigarette is just ridiculously toxic and ridiculously polluting,” he said in a September TIME story. “If you go into a bar or casino where there is a lot of smoking, the only way to get the air that polluted outdoors is to be downwind from a large forest fire. If you say an electronic cigarette is only 10% to 20% less polluting than a massive forest fire, that’s not so good.”

State and city regulations are likely to see major push-back from the electronic cigarette industry and e-cigarette smokers, many of whom believe that electronic cigarettes have helped them quit smoking. “If states get this wrong, if they [incorrectly] tax electronic cigarettes, you are going to see a lot of litigation” from e-cigarette companies, says Christian Berkey, CEO and founder of Johnson Creek in Wisconsin, the largest producer of the liquid used in electronic cigarettes. Berkey says that electronic cigarettes have not produced any proven public health costs that justify taxing them the way regular cigarettes are taxed.

States are also likely to face challenges from grassroots protesters and some members of the public health community who’ve become excited about the prospect that electronic cigarettes could provide safer alternative to smoking that is actually popular with smokers. Roughly 1,000 people protested at the Hawaii legislature when it considered a tax on electronic cigarettes in 2012, a measure that eventually failed. And electronic cigarette smokers — many of whom call themselves “vapers”— puffed on their electronic cigarettes at a New York City council hearing to protest a public use ban in December. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times cautioning against over-regulation of electronic cigarettes, professors Amy Fairchild and James Colgrove of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public health wrote: “If e-cigarettes can reduce, even slightly, the blight of six million tobacco-related deaths a year, trying to force them out of sight is counterproductive.”

Read more from Time…

You can fight the New York City E-Cigarette ban here…

New York Post:" title="NY Post: Bloomberg’s e-cig ban likely to do more harm than good">ecig ny post

New York Post:

From the New York Post:

Mayor Bloomberg’s going out with one last ban. The City Council, with the administration’s strong backing, is rushing through a law to treat the vapor from e-cigarettes like tobacco smoke under the city’s “Smoke-Free Air Act.” The use of e-cigs, ­a k a “vaping,” would be forbidden in indoor and outdoor locations wherever smoking is banned.

The key idea is that e-cigs somehow facilitate tobacco smoking – but the best evidence suggests the reverse, that they’re mainly useful for (and used by) people trying to quit. So the ban is likely to do harm, not good.

The goal of the Smoke-Free Air Act has always been to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, and allow people to smoke in fewer places, with the hope that it would cause them to quit. Banning e-cigs helps on neither front.

It won’t cut exposure to secondhand smoke, because there is no smoke — not even any first-hand smoke. And early evidence is that they’re a much more popular way to help people quit smoking than forcing them to stand out in the cold.

Here’s the science so far: A randomized controlled trial, published in the Lancet last month, found that e-cigs were about as effective an aid in quitting as FDA approved nicotine patches.

The study, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, also found that e-cigs have only a few adverse effects — far fewer than tobacco.

The pro-ban side argues that e-cigarettes “normalize” smoking, because people may be confused and think vaping is smoking. That’s nonsense.

Robin Vitale of the American Heart Association summed up the claim at a council hearing this month: “This mimicry of traditional cigarettes, if used indoors where smoking is banned, can easily lead to confusion and confrontation by New York business owners. The potential for this dynamic to weaken the city’s decade-long ban on smoking in workplaces is quite clear and is the greatest motivating factor to support this proposal.”

Actual business owners beg to differ. Andrew Rigie of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, the trade association for restaurants and bars, testified that e-cigarettes have not become an issue of concern among his members.

It seems that regular folks can tell that the blue LED light on the tip of many e-cigs from the red burning ember at the end of real cigarettes. It helps that vapor doesn’t stink the way tobacco smoke does.

Yes, e-cigs somewhat mimic the old “coffin nails” — that’s why they help you quit. Many smokers prefer kicking the habit with a product that looks and feels like a cigarette.

Spike Babian, co-owner of Vape New York, a city “vape shop,” made the clear point, testifying, “We don’t ban water because it looks like vodka.”

City Health Commissioner Tom Farley presented another red herring at the same hearing, hauling out the “gateway” argument: He claimed, with no data to back up the charge, that e-cigarette use could lead to smoking. In fact, preliminary studies, as well as empirical evidence, show that e-cigarettes are a major gateway away from smoking.

A study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in November looked at 1,300 college students, average age 19. Only 43 of those told researchers their first nicotine product was an e-cigarette, and only one of the 43 later switched to cigarettes. The vast majority of the 43 who’d tried an e-cigarette weren’t using nicotine or tobacco when researchers followed up.

“It didn’t seem as though it really proved to be a gateway to anything,” said researcher Theodore Wagener, an assistant professor of general and community pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, in Oklahoma City.

As an ultimate fallback, activists suggest e-cig vapor might be dangerous. But in a study this summer, Drexel University’s Dr. Igor Burstyn found “there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures . . . that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.”

Grasping at straws, the ban fans suggest it’s just the prudent thing to do until we have more data. No, the prudent thing to do is to help smokers trying to quit.

Jeff Stier, a National Center for Public Policy Research senior fellow, lives on the Upper West Side.

Read more from the New York Post…

You can fight the New York City E-Cigarette ban here…

new york ecig users

NYSSA Urges New Yorkers to Stand Up to Councilman Gennaro and Proposed Treatment of Electronic Cigarettes as Tobacco

New Yorkers for Smarter Smoking Alternatives (NYSSA) was formed to educate the public on electronic cigarettes, which are a safer smoking alternative. The day before Thanksgiving, at the eleventh hour, the New York City Council introduced a bill sponsored by James Gennaro that would ban electronic cigarette use in all locations where tobacco cigarette use is banned – commonly known as the Smoke Free Air Act.

NYSSA asserts that this regulation is incredibly premature and unreasonable. The long term effects of electronic cigarettes are currently unknown, so any passage of this bill would be premature. Regulation should be commensurate with harm. Prematurely regulating this inherently different product the same way as traditional tobacco is unjustified, especially when other tobacco alternatives – like nicotine patches and gum – are not subject to the same restrictions. Electronic cigarettes are completely distinct from tobacco cigarettes; therefore, they should be regulated differently. NYSSA believes that New York City Council Members need to thoroughly research the effects of electronic cigarettes before implementing any further regulations.

“It is clear that electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes are inherently different products that should be regulated separately and distinctly,” says NYSSA Spokesman David Schwartz. “Council Member Gennaro seems to think it is safer to use other tobacco products in bars, such as hookah, rather than electronic cigarettes. This is unfounded and hypocritical. Gennaro thinks he can choose to ban electronic cigarettes just because he feels like it.”

NYSSA believes this legislation was hastily set in motion. More time should be given to the federal government to weigh in on the proper way to approach electronic cigarette regulation. NYSSA does not suggest that electronic cigarettes be free from regulation, but rather insist that it be reasonably regulated.

The coalition emphasizes that there is simply a lack of adequate information and conclusive scientific studies to draw such a close comparison between electronic cigarettes, which consists of the release of water vapor, and tobacco. Even during Health Commissioner Farley’s testimony at the public hearing on electronic cigarettes, he admitted that electronic cigarettes “are so new, we know very little about them.”

NYSSA stands strong in opposition to this premature bill and urges all New Yorkers to tell the members in City Council to vote against the ban.

We urge you to reach out to Speaker Quinn and your local Council Member. We also urge you to reach out to Council Member’s Ignizio, Gentile, Koslowitz and Weprin, who have expressed their intention to vote against the ban – we need to urge them to convince Speaker Quinn to remove this legislation from this year’s agenda. This regulation has been too hastily set in motion and must be set aside until the next administration. TAKE ACTION NOW!

*Please send the following letters to your respective New York City Council Members. The first letter is for speaker, Christine Quinn:

E-Cig Letter in opposition to Christine Quinn.pdf

This letter is for people to send to Council Members – particulary Weprin, Koslowitz, Ignizio and Gentile – to urge the Speaker to remove it from the agenda for the year and to regulate ecigs commensurate with harm and separate from tobacco. Letter in opposition to NYC Ecig RegulationLetter in opposition to NYC Ecig Regulation

Due to time sensitivity, it is important to send this letter to the following members:

Vincent Ignizio:

Karen Koslowitz:

Mark Weprin:

Vincent Genile:

See mail addresses on header of the letters. You can get email addresses for other council members here.

Crain's NY:" title="E-cig sellers fight city to avoid going up in smoke">crains ecig sellers fight back

Crain's NY:

From Crain’s NY:

Spike Babaian loved the way the first puff hit her lips. She never thought electronic cigarettes would be her gateway into the business world.

“I thought it was a miracle device,” she said. “I just wanted everybody to have one.”

Four years later, Ms. Babaian is New York City’s reigning maven of e-cigarettes—battery-powered devices used to heat up and inhale liquid nicotine. She’s president of the National Vapers Club, founder of a national summit for e-cig vendors, Vapefest, and co-owner of the city’s first e-cigarette store, VapeNY.

But Ms. Babaian and an industry that is expected to grow tenfold in the next several years, to $10 billion in U.S. retail sales, face a threat in New York. In late November, a month after banning the sale of the devices to people under 21, the City Council surprised the sector by introducing a bill that would treat electronic cigarettes like their tobacco counterparts, prohibiting use in restaurants, bars, workplaces and even parks. Ms. Babaian said the law would deter a million potential customers, the city’s population of cigarette smokers, from buying her product as a way to wean themselves off cigarettes.

“One of the biggest selling points is indoor use,” she said. “If people have to stand outside with smokers, there’s less incentive to switch over.”


“I can’t for the life of me understand how you can pass regulations without any sort of research behind them,” said David Schwartz, a lobbyist at the firm Gotham Government Relations, who recently founded a coalition called New Yorkers for Smarter Smoking Alternatives to fight the Bloomberg regulations. “They are looking to pass it before the next administration can look at the issue.”

Mr. Schwartz’s firm represents electronic cigarette company LOGIC, which is not affiliated with Big Tobacco, even though other companies pushing against the restrictions do have ties to tobacco firms. The Bloomberg administration and City Council effort came too quickly for the e-cigarette industry, restaurant and bar owners and others to effectively mobilize against it, he said.

At a recent public hearing of the bill, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley challenged the notion that e-cigs are healthier than tobacco smokes, though he admitted that not enough research had been conducted to support either side’s claim on the healthfulness of the vaporizers. In attendance was a hoard of users (who call themselves “vapers” to distinguish themselves from “smokers”) puffing their pipes in protest.

When Ms. Babaian, a Long Island native, first tried an e-cig, she was teaching a Mercy College course in human sexual behavior and smoking two packs a day. The device helped her kick the habit.

Read more from Crain’s NY

You can fight the New York City E-Cigarette ban here…

take action 2 nys

NYS E-Cig Users: Take Action Now!


New York State is well on its way to voting on a bill to ban electronic cigarette use in all New York State locations where tobacco use is also banned. New York City just passed a similar law, we cannot let it happen to the entire state – it is just not acceptable. We must remind our state elected officials that electron cigarettes are completely distinct from tobacco cigarettes; therefore, they should be regulated differently and reasonably. They are inherently different products and any proposed ban, or even additional taxation, would be incredibly premature.

We urge you to reach out to your local State Senator and Assembly Member to express your outrage to these bills that would severely restrict electronic cigarette access and usage. The Food and Drug Administration has already started to voice their findings, so we must urge New York State to wait before they arbitrarily pass legislation that may end up being contrary to the FDA’s findings.

We ask that you send the following letter to your local State Senator and Assembly Member:


NYS Letter in Opposition to AB8178/SB6562

new york city council hearing

ANNOUNCEMENT: Public Hearing on Electronic Cigarette Regulation in New York City

WHEN: December 4, 2013 @ 10am

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, New York, NY

WHAT: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the regulation of electronic cigarettes (this is a pre-considered bill, therefore it will move quickly). If passed, this legislation would prohibit electronic cigarette usage in public places all over New York City.

Read introduction to the proposed legislation by Council Members James Gennaro, Christine Quinn and Maria Del Carmen Arroyo here.

WHO:  Health Committee Council Members


You can contact Health Committee Members and express your concerns about the proposed regulations. We encourage you to email, call or even Tweet to the Council Members and let them know how you feel about these premature restrictions. You can also to attend the public hearing in opposition to the proposed regulations. If you wish to testify at the hearing, please show up at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the meeting to sign up with the Sergeant at Arms. Let’s fight this together and show City Council why electronic cigarettes are not to be subject to the same regulations as tobacco! In addition to being a successful alternative to the dangers of smoking tobacco, please keep the following in mind as well:

  • Electronic cigarettes encourage economic growth
  • While the FDA has discovered trace amounts of tobacco-specific nitrosamines in some electronic cigarettes, they contain the same trace levels as the FDA-approved nicotine patch.
  • Studies show that electronic cigarettes are just as good as the nicotine patch and other cessation products.
  • The vapor from electronic cigarettes has no smell that affects other patrons or employees in any establishment
  • The FDA was set to issue regulations by October 31st, but have they have yet to offer guidance on how these devices must be regulated – they are still expected to issue their findings.


We’re taking swift action against this bill and encourage you to join us. Please sign up below and we’ll update you about our actions and how you can help.

Mailing List