Photo Credit: Squidoo
I was in one of the no-smoking sections at Bally's Atlantic City Hotel and Casino and noticed a slot player blowing a puff of smoke into the air. When I called over to him that he was in the no-smoking area he flashed a grin, waved his electronic cigarette (or e-cigarettes as they are called) and yelled back, "It's not a real cigarette!"
These devices are marketed with the idea that one should now be able to satisfy one's nicotine craving by smoking an e-cigarette in any area where smoking is typically not permitted; however even though e-cigarettes are almost free of both first and second-hand smoke, using one in a smoke-free area is still problematic. For example, if they become popular enough then imagine you are at a baseball game and a few thousand of the crowd are using these faux-butts - how is security supposed to detect the real smokers among all the fakers? It's not practical to go up to every single person close enough to find out if they are using real cigarettes or not.
The obvious and sane policy is to ban puffing on all things that even look like cigarettes in smoke-free zones. My state did the right thing by extending the New Jersey Smoke Free Act (1) to include “electronic smoking devices."
As well, these devices are banned on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains (2).
It's Disgusting Even if It's Fake
Here's how I look at it. It's against the law to dangle one's penis in a public place, but suppose I buy one of those rubber-penis fakes they sell in sex shops - can I now strap one on and go into a schoolyard and dangle it at the kids? If a policeman stops me, can I grin, wave my faux-dick and yell back, "It's not a real penis!"? Obviously it's still offensive, fake or not. The law would not make a distinction between a real and a fake penis. I'd still get arrested.
And rightly so - children should not witness purposely lewd behavior lest they grow up believing such behavior is proper. Likewise, children should not be exposed to smokers dragging on cigarettes, fake or not, lest they grow up believing that it's not a filthy, disgusting habit.
It is also why I am in favor of laws such as those passed in France and Belgium banning the wearing of Islamic veils in public. Children should not be exposed to the humiliation and oppression of women as if it were a proper and right thing.
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS STATE OF NEW JERSEY, P.L. 2009, c.182 (A-4227) PDF
The new law expands the current statutory prohibitions and penalties on (1) the smoking of tobacco products in all enclosed indoor places of public access and workplaces and (2) the selling, distributing, giving or furnishing cigarettes or tobacco products to persons who are less than 19 years of age, to include electronic smoking devices,” commonly known as e-cigarettes. Under the new law, an “electronic smoking device” is an electronic device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, or pipe.
CBS New York, 14 Jul 2013, MTA Extends Commuter Train Smoking Ban To E-Cigarettes
Smoking is not allowed on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains, and officials have decided electronic cigarettes are included in that ban.
As 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported Sunday morning, electronic cigarettes emit a water vapor and not smoke, but no matter – the Metropolitan Transportation Authority does not want them on the LIRR or Metro-North trains.
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a ban on the sale of the devices to anyone under 18, and made it illegal to smoke them within 100 feet of entrances to public or private schools.