December 15, 2017516 399 0606vapeny@gmail.com

Reading the smoke signals on e-cigarettes: Can you puff away on a plane, train or in your local bar?

The rules can be hazy for electronic cigarettes, devices that uses synthetic nicotine and are cheaper and cleaner than the traditional kind. E-cigarettes are banned in some public places but restaurants, movie theaters, nightclubs, bowling alleys or shopping malls may allow ‘vaping.’
Health

The rules can be hazy for electronic cigarettes, devices that uses synthetic nicotine and are cheaper and cleaner than the traditional kind. E-cigarettes are banned in some public places but restaurants, movie theaters, nightclubs, bowling alleys or shopping malls may allow ‘vaping.’

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Christelle Gérand and fellow e-smoker Joel Johnson traveled about New York and found plenty of places where they were allowed to ‘vape.’

Where there’s smoking, there’s no longer fire — but there’s plenty of heated debate.

Electronic cigarettes, known to smokers as e-cigarettes, are lighting up the city as puffers snuff out their butts in favor of the refillable, rechargeable alternative, which produces a not-so-smelly vapor instead of pungent smoke.

But should tokers treat these devices like cigarettes themselves, keeping the habit out of restaurants, bars, barbershops and airplanes? Or should they light up wherever the mood strikes, taking advantage of industry claims that the synthetic nicotine sticks are as harmless to passersby as nightclub fog machines?

Depends on who — and where — you ask.

The smoking ban at bars and restaurants doesn't apply to e-cigarettes.

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

The smoking ban at bars and restaurants doesn’t apply to e-cigarettes.

Trains, planes and buses are out of the question.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority told the Daily News it allows no e-cigs on the E train or any of its rides, for that matter.

RELATED: SMOKERS SEE E-CIGS AS A WAY TO BREAK HABIT: SURVEY

“We would interpret our prohibition on smoking as applying to electronic cigarettes,” a spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail.

Battery-powered devices go for about $40 each, with liquid refills available in flavors like coffee, vanilla and “juicy fruit."

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Battery-powered devices go for about $40 each, with liquid refills available in flavors like coffee, vanilla and “juicy fruit.”

The Long Island Rail Road also extends it cigarette ban to e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says no smoking — or “vaping,” as e-cigarette enthusiasts call it — on airplanes.

But that’s where the formal prohibitions end. The city Parks Department doesn’t consider vaping to be smoking, meaning Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on puffers in parks is not airtight.

More importantly, the city’s Department of Health says Bloomberg’s defining Smoke Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking inside public places, does not govern electronic smoking. That means as far as the city is concerned, any bar, restaurant, movie theater, nightclub, bowling alley, nail salon or shopping mall is fair game for vaping.

Joel Johnson vapes at New York Barbers.

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Joel Johnson vapes at New York Barbers.

That is, of course, if business owners choose to allow it.

RELATED: E-CIGARETTE STUDY HINTS AT QUIT-AID POTENTIAL

Some do, and some don’t: Starbucks recently snuffed out the chance for patrons to enjoy coffee and e-cigarettes, while lower East Side bars Iggy’s, Whiskey Ward and Coal Yard don’t have a problem with it. On the other hand, many Times Square bars and Broadway theaters say no to e-smoking.

  It’s a legal area that’s grayer than a smoker’s lungs, according to Phil Roseman, co-owner of VapeNY, Manhattan’s first electronic-cigarette shop.

Christelle Gérand puffs amid the produce at the grocery store.

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Christelle Gérand puffs amid the produce at the grocery store.

“What we tell our customers is that you can vape anywhere you like,” says Roseman, whose newly opened lower East Side storefront sells the battery-powered devices for about $40 a pop, as well as flavored refills like coffee, vanilla and “juicy fruit.” “I’ve taken it on planes, into restaurants and movie theaters, and never had a problem.”

The store has been doing brisk businesses, as more and more nicotine addicts decide they don’t want to pay $15 for a pack of real cigarettes when there’s a cheaper, less-taxed, and more socially permissable alternative.

Not to mention, one that doesn’t stink up the whole apartment.

“I can use this e-cigarette as much as I want and my wife doesn’t complain about the smell,” says lower East Side resident Mike Chan, 41, a VapeNY regular who spends about $30 a month on the liquid refills, down significantly from his cigarette-smoking days.

Joel Johnson, smoking an electronic cigarette, and Christelle Gérand outside a Manhattan park.

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Joel Johnson, smoking an electronic cigarette, and Christelle Gérand outside a Manhattan park.

RELATED: FRANCE TO BAN ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE ‘SMOKING’ IN PUBLIC PLACES

That’s not to say all New Yorkers are welcoming the glowing tip of these electronic devices.

“There was a time when I was wasted, vaping an e-cigarette, and someone came up to me and told me to put it out,” says Alex Catarinella, 26. “I blew smoke in his face and then pretended to put out my cigarette on his chest. He jumped!”

Writers and regular e-smokers Christelle Gérand, 27, and Joel Johnson, 35, toured the city with the Daily News and vaped openly in bars, restaurants, a dry cleaner and even a grocery store without anyone telling them to cut it out.

“I am surprised at how many places don’t seem to mind — especially bars,” says Johnson.

One place that will never turn e-smokers away is the Henley Lounge, planned to open in SoHo in September. The local e-cigarette company hopes to screen films and host talks, all while passing out samples of its Henley e-cigs.

“Our job with this company is to educate people that nicotine is like caffeine,” says Henley co-founder Talia Eisenberg. “Yes, it’s addictive, but it’s not going to hurt you.”

 

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