Electronic Cigarettes prohibited outside Albany county buildings

Tyler McNeil, Staff Writer

Daniel McCoy, Albany County Executive, announced an executive order prohibiting the use of electric cigarettes on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

The executive order, prohibiting “vaping,” was put into effect on Thursday, Feb. 6.

This order prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes inside and within 20 feet of buildings owned by the county.

“Not knowing what long-term damage may occur, I don’t want to wait for the statistics to come back and say that these are damaging to kids,” said McCoy.

One day before McCoy’s announcement, CVS pharmacies stopped selling tobacco products in their chains nationwide.

“About 14 years ago, I was the one that got cigarettes behind the counters so the youth of our community could not pilfer them,” said Mary Lou Connolly, Albany County Legislator of Guilderland.

“Now, with e-cigarettes, they have a whole new clean slate to promote a product that I think will lead to kids smoking e-cigarettes and then moving to real cigarettes” said Tim Nichols, Albany County Legislator of Latham.

“To me, it’s not about making money. it is about the health and welfare of the citizens we represent here in Albany County,” said McCoy.

As part of the tobacco-free SUNY initiative, which was recently put into place, electronic cigarettes are among the list of tobacco products that are banned on state campus grounds.

There have been few findings on the dangers of electronic cigarettes.

The Center for Disease Control states in its latest annual executive surgeon general report, “Significant questions remain about how to assess the potential toxicity and health effects of the more than 250 electronic cigarette brands.”

According to Wells Fargo, electronic cigarette sales have exceeded over $1 billion in 2013 alone.

Blu, the largest electronic cigarette brand name in the United States, distributes to more than 80,000 stores annually.

Some smokers believe the legal status of electronic cigarettes only draws them closer to smoking again.

“I don’t understand why people who are trying a safer alternative to nicotine addiction should be around a bunch of people smoking at the bus stop,” said Austin Bryant, forensic science major.

“I see people at the bus stop, or wherever they won’t get caught on campus, trying to break their habit around people who continue to smoke,” said Jack Restaino, accounting major.

Several college campuses, including Hudson Valley, have already fought to prohibit electronic cigarettes.

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent public health awareness movement, New York City fought to ban electronic cigarettes.

Last year, Michael Bloomberg signed a law that put electronic cigarettes to have the same legal status as tobacco products.

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