A judge in New York ruled in early February that vaping is not the same as smoking, so the use of e-cigarettes is not always banned where cigarettes are banned.
The court ruled that when you vape with an e-cig, the product does not burn or contain tobacco. Rather, using an e-cigarette to vape involves inhaling an e-cig liquid that contains water, nicotine, vegetable glycerin and some sort of flavoring.
This issue came to the fore when a vaper on the NYC subway was issued a citation for smoking. He challenged the citation in court. The law in NYC about smoking states that smoking consists of burning a lit cigarette, pipe or cigarette that contains tobacco.
The state has claimed that there is no need for a ban on vaping to justify the citation in the subway because NY courts have not determined if electronic cigarettes can be viewed differently than regular cigarettes.
The argument was dismissed by the judge as vaping products do not align with NY’s smoking definition as they do not have tobacco.
Still, NY does have specific vaping bans in some areas. For example, since April 2014, it has been illegal to use e-cigarettes in many public places.
Some vaping proponents hope that this ruling is a good sign that indicates that vaping and smoking are not the same. It should be noted though that the judge was simply stating that the current NY definition of smoking does not fit the actual operation of an e-cigarette. We can expect that cities around the country will soon be revamping their anti-smoking ordinances to include e-cigs.