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E-cigs banned from Albany County-owned buildings

McCoy signs executive order citing health concerns, lack of regulation

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy holds up an executive order he signed Thursday, Feb. 6, banning the usage of electronic cigarettes in county owned buildings.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy holds up an executive order he signed Thursday, Feb. 6, banning the usage of electronic cigarettes in county owned buildings. Photo by John Purcell.

— County Legislator Gary Domalewicz, D-Albany, applauded McCoy’s e-cig regulations, adding that little are known about the devices and how harmful they could be.

Fellow Legislator Tim Nichols, D-Latham, said the ban is a “good first step.” He also pointed to how e-cigs are being marketed, such as through celebrity endorsements and making them seem “hip.”

“If you look at the way they market and advertise e-cigarettes, it’s just the same exact way that the tobacco industry used to market regular cigarettes 20, 30, 40 years,” Nichols said. “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.”

Judy Rightmyer, director of the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition, agreed e-cigs are a gateway to traditional cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes can serve as a gateway for youth to become addicted to nicotine and then graduate to regular cigarette use,” Rightmyer said. “We don’t need to introduce a new generation of smokers to tobacco-related disease and a premature death.”

County Legislator Mary Lou Connolly, D-Guilderland, said “careless people” have resulted in children getting a hold of the device, and at least one child has died.

“About 14 years ago, I was the one that got cigarettes behind the counters … so the youth of our community could not pilfer them,” Connolly said. “I am very fortunate I never smoked, but this e-cig, it is phony. … It is a crutch, and it’s one of the hardest things in the world to give up.”

Several county officials and advocates said the health effects of secondhand vapor could be harmful, but no research was presented or cited for possible health effects. Many speakers cited the lack of information as the problem and cause for the ban.

Jeff Seyler, president of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, said the ban places “public health first” through stopping “potentially unsafe secondhand emissions.”

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