ALBANY Don’t be surprised if alongside the no smoking signs on country-owned property there are new ones alerting people that “vaping” is not allowed.
The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, has not gone unnoticed by Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, who signed an executive order Thursday, Feb. 6, banning the use of the devices to match restrictions placed on tobacco smoking on county property.
“The problem is now more and more kids are starting to smoke them, and (it) is not FDA approved,” McCoy said. “They are seeing more and more people smoking them in buildings, and kids think it is a cool thing. … It’s not cool.”
The devices are battery powered, often resembling the size and look of a cigarette, and simulate smoking through heating a liquid solution containing nicotine. Most e-cigs work by the user inhaling on the device, like a traditional cigarette, and a nicotine-laced vapor is released.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking to extend its reach to regulate the devices through its authority over tobacco products. The FDA could regulate e-cigarettes if a company markets its devices for “therapeutic purposes.”
County officials claimed e-cigarettes can be purchased “without proof of age” however, state law actually prohibits the sale of the device to anyone under 18 years old. That law took effect Jan. 1, 2013.
The devices can often be purchased where cigarettes are sold or through websites.
McCoy said tobacco companies are relying on e-cigs to boost profits, with the health implications of smoking cigarettes widely known and sales declining. He said it is “another niche” for the industry to make money.
“To me, it’s not about making money … it is about the health and welfare of the citizens we represent here in Albany County,” McCoy said. “People should be able to come here and do business, come to work and not worry about that.”