NYC expands smoking ban to include e-cigarettes

I'd just like to point out that New York has banned something before San Francisco. Truly my city is losing its edge.

She said allowing the devices in places where cigarettes are now banned also could "renormalize" smoking and undermine the public perception that the habit is now acceptable only outdoors or in private.

"We don't want a step backward with that," she said.

Manufacturers say the vapor they emit is harmless, and most scientists agree that regular smokers who switch to e-cigarettes are lowering their health risk substantially. [...]

The devices, though, aren't heavily regulated. And experts say consumers can't yet be sure whether they are safe either for users or people exposed to second-hand vapor puffs.

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7 Responses:

  1. Elusis says:

    This makes me crazy. I've been really excited to watch my previously smoker friends turn into people who aren't 1) stinky and 2) actively puffing themselves into an early death. And now I don't spend so much time in clubs sitting alone while waiting for the smokers to come back inside.

    • DC Dan says:

      They don't quite smell as bad as smokers of regular cigarettes but after sitting across from a guy puffing maple syrup flavored nicotine for thirty minutes you'd still be nauseous.

      • jwz says:

        If I can smell you -- like, ever -- you're doing it wrong.

        A lot of people are doing it wrong, and smokers are the worst because they can't smell shit.

      • Elusis says:

        The vaguely scented clouds of vanilla and Earl Grey work way better for me than Eau de Stale Marlboro, that's for damn sure.

  2. Jeremy Leader says:

    "Manufacturers say the vapor they emit is harmless, and most scientists agree that regular smokers who switch to e-cigarettes are lowering their health risk substantially."

    I keep seeing lines like that, as if the two statements are equivalent.

    Yes, getting rid of the tars and the carbon monoxide is good (for both the smoker/vaper and any bystanders). But nicotine is an addictive psychoactive toxin. If inhaling it in water vapor is sufficient to give the vapers their nicotine hits, why do the manufacturers act like it magically disappears when the vapor isn't in the vapers' lungs?

    I have no idea whether banning or restricting e-cigarettes is a good idea, but this whole "there's no proof that it's harmful" schtick about 2nd-hand nicotine fog sounds eerily familiar.

    • Adolf Osborne says:

      Agreed.

      I would like to propose that former (or quasi) smokers, rather than vaporizing their flavored nicotine and poisoning others with their effluence, that they simply mainline it into their forearm. Like heroin.

      "Daddy, what is that man doing?" "Don't worry, Son: He's probably just injecting his nicotine supplement between courses. Now finish your dinner and try not to make eye contact, or there won't be any desert for you."

      "Daddy, why did his head fall off onto his burrito?" "That's called a 'head-rush,' Son. Now stop asking questions or you're going straight to bed when we get home."

  3. nooj says:

    8-year-old Chinese girl gets lung cancer

    "When I see patients who are not smokers, with no other risk factors, we have to assume that the most probable cause is pollution." [...]

    The northeastern city of Harbin practically closed down for two days in October when readings approached 1,000, creating air so murky that residents said they couldn't see their dogs at the end of the leash. [...]

    The doctor who first disclosed the case of the 8-year-old girl with lung cancer last month to a reporter from the state-run China News Service appears to have been publicly silenced. "There was a misunderstanding. I can't do an interview."

    A very interesting comment from the article:

    To learn more, researchers say, Chinese health authorities must establish cancer registries, collecting case histories of new patients. Those records then must be matched with detailed air pollution data going back over the years it takes for lung cancer to develop.

    A causal link between pollution and lung cancer is something that Google's new health venture, Calico, would be exceptionally good at discovering. Air quality experienced by a patient is not part of one's medical history, but Google is well-suited to connect that data with individuals in a meaningful way. With a big nationwide database--say, that of a huge employer like Wal-Mart or IBM--even a very non-creepy level of locational air quality data will give many statistically significant answers.

    Everyone gets a hard-on for the genome, but there are a lot of easy answers out there from data we've been taking for decades.