This week, a New York court ruled that under state law, vapers cannot be charged in violation of the state’s anti-smoking laws because as reality proves, vaping is not smoking.
Shawn Thomas was vaping on a subway platform, and when he was arrested, he was charged under state law, which does not designate using electronic cigarettes in public as illegal. Though in New York City the use of electronic cigarettes is banned in public places under the Smoke Free Air Act, it is not a state law, and this is exactly where Thomas was able to defend his actions and fight the charges he was assigned. In his favor, the judge ruled that smoking laws cannot be applied to vaping.
Vapers have always known this, and anyone else with common sense could have figured it out easily. Smoking involves tobacco, and cigarettes, and fire to light them, creating combustion, resulting in the burning of the plant matter, creating smoke. That’s the basic gist of smoking. Vaping, however, is an entirely different action, and it involves none of the above aspects of the process. Alternative cigarettes use nicotine e-liquid, burns nothing, produces vapor, dissipates without odor, uses no fire, creates no combustion, and does not produce smoking of the device. Clearly, no smoke involved.
This latest action in New York is an evident sign of reform occurring, showing that acceptance, though small, is happening, and however minute it may be, the fact that lawmakers are recognizing the difference is major. As the threat of FDA regulations looms, with the fear that they will attempt to classify vaping as smoking permanently, it is a very promising sign that awareness is occurring. While cases such as Shawn Thomas’ are going to be handled on an individual basis, and New York City will not be altering their Smoke Free Air Act anytime soon, any positive, justified action is a good sign!