Posted in: Opinion

New York State May Pass An E-Liquid Ban That’s Awfully Convenient For Big Tobacco

nys e-liquid ban 2014

Users of electronic cigarettes on social media (many of whom are former smokers) are recruiting fellow vapers to act quickly, as news of a vote favoring an e-liquid ban in the State of New York makes its way across the web.

In case you missed it, the controversy pertains in part to legislation that restricts the sale of e-liquid — the fluid that e-cig users fill their devices with to vaporize nicotine — but curiously exempts major manufacturers from the proposed draconian rules. (Read: major tobacco companies that have powerful lobbies and big pockets, not your local e-cig retailer.)

Bill S6939B-2013, which “prohibits the sale or provision of any quantity of electronic liquid used to refill an electronic cigarette or cartridge” and “defines ‘electronic liquid’ as any liquid composed of nicotine and other chemicals that is sold for use in electronic cigarettes” passed the New York Senate today — and as many ex-smokers who rely on e-cigs to avoid cigarettes pointed out nationwide, regulations in New York State often influence future restrictions in other states.

In essence, should this e-liquid ban come to fruition in New York (which has been not too shy about laws some consider “nanny stateish” in the past), it’s highly likely to have a domino-like effect on legal precedent in e-liquid sales. This particular law is risky for New York vapers, but everyone who has quit using e-cigarettes ought to take notice of this scary development.

Or, in other words, vapers are very likely to get screwed. And cigarette tax revenue will likely go up, by the by.

In the bill, some shaky claims of the “we just don’t know” variety totally gloss over the fact that anecdotally, e-cigs are keeping people off the biggest known preventible killer on Earth.

Without any qualification or supplemental information, the New York State e-liquid ban bill claims:

“Between 2012 and 2013, calls to poison control centers involving e-liquids have increased by 300 percent, with 1,351 calls in 2013. According to the Syracuse Post Standard, as of March 2014, 651 calls have been made to poison control centers regarding e-liquids, with over half of these calls involving children under 6 years old. It has also been reported that a teaspoon of highly diluted e-liquids can seriously harm or kill a small child.”

Statewide? Nationwide? Globally? In France?

No attempt is made to put the scary numbers into any sort of meaningful context, nor are any other benchmarks given to allow people to understand the scope of the issue — or if there is an issue at all.

It goes on to state:

“According to the New York Times, an individual died after injecting e-liquids, and another individual in Kentucky was admitted to the hospital with cardiac problems after her e-cigarette broke and the e-liquid was absorbed through her skin.”

Since the New York Senate doesn’t want to give out any numbers for scale, let’s take a look at a different number: 23,600.

That’s how many of our state Senate’s constituents die each year from “their own smoking,” not accounting for spouses, children, and other exposed parties who may develop cancer from secondhand smoke.

So while one person may have died from injecting e-liquid, something that appears to have happened once if that, and one lady in Kentucky got sick when she got e-liquid on her skin, nearly 65 New Yorkers die each day from tobacco-related disease.

Want another number? 280,000 — the number of kids the anti-tobacco group linked above under the age of 18 living in New York State whose lives will be shorter because of smoking.

What’s truly upsetting about the e-liquid ban, though, is that it not only risks the availability of the most promising anti-smoking tool we have to date (these concerns of dangerous nicotine do not extend to patches or gum, which kids are probably far more likely to put in their mouths) — it also paves the way for tobacco companies to gain control of the e-cig market entirely. (Shutting out the smaller vendors that often prove a valuable support network for new e-cig users.)

Over on Reddit, the r/electronic_cigarette thread widely speculates that the New York State e-liquid ban evidences elected officials serving other masters, given the notable provision that (while killing New York State small business) allows for a pass for brands like Blu — owned by Lorillard.

In fact, the New York Times just covered Big Tobacco’s big interest in e-cigs this week, oddly coinciding with this new legislation to hand those moneyed companies the thriving e-cig market. (At the expense of New York State businesses, did we point out?)

Overall, it’s just a really disheartening development for New Yorkers who happen to struggle with a desire to smoke and found a way to quit. Lots of people don’t like e-cigs, but they don’t have to smoke them — and state residents who have found success quitting are out of luck because it’s clear our elected officials don’t really care about measurable tobacco harm reduction when tax revenue and lobby bucks are possibly on the line.

Concerned citizens of New York State who oppose the e-liquid ban (or simply don’t like breathing in tobacco smoke) are urged to call their local representatives and make their voices heard on this public health issue. Because either way, you can rest assured Big Tobacco and Big Pharma have put all their weight behind knocking out those pesky indie e-liquid sellers in one of the most populous and influential states.


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25 Responses to “New York State May Pass An E-Liquid Ban That’s Awfully Convenient For Big Tobacco”

  1. Charles Beward

    Excellent article except for this: "That’s how many of our state Senate’s constituents die each year from 'their own smoking,' not accounting for spouses, children, and other exposed parties who may develop cancer from secondhand smoke." Yeah, they may and then again they may not. There's no evidence that secondhand smoke ever killed anybody; there's just very weak statistics.

  2. Larry Westfall

    The one thing that got me to quit combustible cigarettes after 49 years and these idiots want to ban it.

  3. Anonymous

    Wow, these guys should be voted out of offices for being so ridiculous.

  4. Marc Sylvestre

    What utter tripe.
    Most vendors won't sell any e-liquid that's over 2.4% nicotine. That's not dangerous.
    It's worth noting that if you swallow toothpaste, you're supposed to call the poison control center – so where's the toothpaste ban? How a ban on vodka? Vodka comes in "flavors to attract children" and vodka would sure as heck kill a little kid.
    And who's the idiot who leaves their liquids out for their baby to eat?

  5. Susan Jones

    We just need to start a riot. I am just so pissed off at all of this BS. The tobacco companies are behind this. Vaping could wipe out their profits and the government is falling right in line. Disgusting.

  6. Joe Avsenik

    This type of legislation, while it may seem extreme to say so, could be argued to be a crime against humanity. It is tantamount to denying care to a suffering patient. I just can't believe how ignorantly and badly this nation is now being governed.

    I used to laugh at all the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists, now, after having had a brief involvement with and having done a paltry amount of research into the topic of e-cigarettes; I find myself in the camp that I used to ridicule. Is this some type of poetic justice?

  7. Kevin Lutes

    The sad fact that money trumps health. These politicians are the epitome of corrupt and their bill is completely unfounded. I believe there are many more important issues to be voting on instead of peoples choice on how to quit smoking

  8. Theresa Junor

    So what do we do to stop this bill? I've never been a smoker but my husband was and tried everything he knew to quit and failed multiple times UNTIL e-cigs came along and he has been off real cigarettes for 7 months now and is systematically lowering his nicotene levels every few months as his goal is to be a Zero Nic Vapist. I no longer have to hold my breath around him because he no longer stinks of cigarette smoke and our kids, no second hand smoke to harm them, so yeah how, what do we do to stop this stupidity that the lobbyist for big tobacco and big Pharma are trying to push on us.

  9. Debbie Hagan

    Recently visiting Syracuse they should be worried about the cigarette smokers. Walking around downtown is akin to a 1930's Speak Easy.

  10. Richard Krupski

    They lost their Tobacco tax revenue (legally obligated to be used 100% toward tobacco cessation), which they have been ILLEGALLY funneling into their budgets. Now that people have found a safer alternative to tobacco, TIME TO BAN IT.

  11. Gilbert Ross

    What should you/we do, you ask? CALL AND WRITE YOUR STATE REP! I'm not sure what the status of this ridiculous, hateful measure is in the Ass-embly, but if it hasnt come up yet in that chamber, MAKE YOUR OPINIONS KNOWN IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS. I happen to live in Shelley Silver's district–he's the omnipotent Speaker of the NYS Ass. and basically runs the state along with Gov. [help me get the Dem. nomination in 2016] Cuomo. Join me in telling the Assemblers to vote down this destructive, corrupt bill before it's too late! Gil Ross MD/ACSH

  12. Jorge Ginzo

    Can anyone tell me how this would do nothing more than line the pockets of big tobacco? Not for nothing but we are watching, with glee by the way, many of New York's job creators leave that state to come down here to Florida. They taxed cigarettes to death and people still smoked, but the govermnet got their money didn't they? Big tobacco is worried because they are losing their market share to e-cigs and their own e-cigs aren't even selling, because, well, they suck. So the government loses money, big tobacco is losing money, but the smalle vape shops are starting to make some money (not big tobacco money of course) and here comes the government to shut them down? Hmmmm, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend?"

  13. Scott Hickman

    Calls to poison control center up 300% due to parental neglect, or by some idiot junkie shooting e juice (yea right) .what is left out is statistics showing e juice incidents compared to tabacco related incidents

  14. Scott Hickman

    Citizens of New York please use only goverment sanctioned narcotics to assist your efforts to stop smoking. Thank you for your cooperation

  15. Margaret Hermon

    What a bunch of crooks! Forget sense or reason, it just doesn't come into the equation – read blatant corruption. The poisons question – how many fatalities? None. How many fires started by cigarettes?
    Quite a number if U.K stats are anything to go by. This is yet another attempt to smooth the path for
    their Big Tobacco friends and their pathetic products – they just can't produce a 2nd or 3rd generation e-cig and they sure as hell don't intend any innovation. Our sworn enemy is the Pharmaceutical trade,
    yours appears to be Big Tobacco. Just keep fighting it!

  16. Lesli Rieves

    Great news…lets encourage more tobacco smoke. That's definitely a better alternative. I love premium e juice and e liquid and thank ecigs for letting me kick big tobacco. Shout out to my local vendors (

  17. Frank Aziza

    The people in office are ass holes. They'll pass anything for a big donation. I hope they choke on their dinners.

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