Seeing his administration coming to its close, Mayor Bloomberg must have decided to take one last swing at New Yorkers’ rights by having his Commissioner of Health, Dr. Tom Farley, try to restrict e-cigarette use to areas where smoking is permitted. The venue was the NYC Council’s Health Committee hearing, a conclave that was only announced the day before Thanksgiving (obviously, the goal is to ram this through before the new Mayor’s appointees take over).
The hearing auditorium was packed, and mostly by vapers: this was confirmed when one of the anti-proposal testifiers, Spike Babaian, asked those users of e-cigs to raise their hands, and about 98 percent of the audience did so. ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross, who was seated at the “witness stand” (as it were) next to Ms. Babaian, did not raise his hand, although he has been known to vape for educational purposes.
Speaking of which, Dr. Ross was the opening opponent of the measure to revise NYC’s “Smoke-free Air Act,” to include e-cigs. Councilman Gennaro, who was present (albeit late) and Speaker Quinn are the main proponents of the bill, although it is highly likely that the Mayor himself is the real force, with the always-faithful assistance of Cmr. Farley.
“This seriously flawed approach will have no possible benefit for public health, and is very likely to be a significant detriment, by forcing ex-smokers now vaping out into the cold with smokers,” Dr. Ross said, echoing comments he made at the hearing and in several news media interviews (including the New York Times). “How could someone using an e-cigarette pose a threat to anyone’s health? Contrary to Dr. Farley’s assertions, we do indeed know what’s in the vapor: nothing detrimental to one’s health. As another testifier said, ‘Should we ban water because it looks like vodka?’ This is nothing other than another hyper-regulatory government over-reach, and we here at ACSH hope the City Council will realize that and not try to ape lesser communities, like Los Angeles.”