July 20, 2017
Alphonso David, Esq.
Counsel to the Governor
State Capitol, Executive Chamber
Albany, New York 12224
Re: S. 750 (Ritchie)/A. 611 (Rosenthal)—An Act to amend the public health law, in relation to prohibiting e-cigarettes on school grounds.
Dear Mr. David:
The Medical Society of the State of New York in support of S.750 (Ritchie)/A.611 (Rosenthal) which would prohibit electronic cigarettes on school grounds. MSSNY urges that this legislation be signed into law.
Electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes, are electronic devices that deliver nicotine to the user. They heat up liquid nicotine and emit water vapor together with various chemicals, of which there is very little known. People are being placed at risk because of the lack of information regarding the chemical makeup of liquid nicotine or the risk to individuals from inhaling the water vapor either directly or through secondhand exposure. Testing done by the FDA shows that electronic cigarettes can be dangerous because users inhale carcinogens and toxic chemicals, such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient found in antifreeze. Recent studies have suggested that e-cigarettes may contain more carcinogens than traditional cigarettes, in some instances ten times the carcinogens of traditional cigarettes.
In 2012, New York State banned the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18. Despite this, the CDC reports the use of e-cigarettes among middle-school and high-school students more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. This legislation is necessary to further protect minors from the dangers of these unregulated devices, particularly because they have not been proven to be safe for use at any age, by prohibiting their use on any school ground.
We note that there is a more comprehensive bill that will soon come before the Governor, S. 2543A (Hannon)/A.516A (Rosenthal). S. 2543A would, if enacted, amend New York State’s Clean Indoor Air Act and prohibit the use of use of e-cigarettes in all public places. However, the Medical Society of the State of New York also strongly supports S. 750 and urges its enactment by Governor Cuomo as its provisions are effective immediately—thereby protecting all students throughout the state.
Pat Clancy Morris Auster