For weeks, e-cig advocates around NYC have been mobilizing to convince City Council not to ban the product indoors and in public places.
An today, the Council will decide on the future of what could be a massive industry — a $US3 billion industry by 2015, if Citi is correct.
It’s no secret that under Mayor Bloomberg New York City has undertaken a major public health initiative. Combustible cigarettes have already been banned in restaurants and public parks, but since the FDA has not yet ruled on whether or not e-cigs are equally harmful, they have yet to be regulated.
Imagine it like this: On Dec. 4, 200 protestors marched to City Hall to attend a hearing on e-cigs. Advocates on both sides presented to Council members, and all the while, the 200 protestors, led by Talia Eisenberg (the proprietor of NYC’s first e-cig bar, Henley Vaporium) sat in the room and puffed on their e-cigs.
“They were open-minded,” Eisenberg said of the Council. “They asked good questions but they were concerned there wasn’t enough long-term research on the product.”
Henley is a shop that sells anything and everything you need to vaporize tobacco, from e-juice (a plant-based liquid of pure nicotine) to disposable e-cigs, to top-of-the-line e-juice vaporizers.
Eisenberg started the Henley line as a smoker over three years ago. As the business grew, she and her partner Peter Denholtz, decided to build a brick and mortar shop in order to build a community. The shop’s motto is “new ways for old habits.”
“I see it every day,” Eisenberg told Business Insider, “People that have smoked for 34 years picking up e-cigs and never smoking combustible cigarettes again.”
Hanging out in the shop, we ran into some of them too.
The argument on the other side, as Joe Nocera pointed out in a recent New York Times column, is that some believe “vaping” e-cigs could be a gateway to smoking, or that it could glamorize the combustible cigarettes.
Yet, so far, the evidence suggests just the opposite. Several recent studies have strongly suggested that the majority of e-cigarette users are people who are trying to quit their tobacco habit. The number of people who have done the opposite — gone from e-cigarettes to cigarettes — is minuscule. “What the data is showing is that virtually all the experimentation with e-cigarettes is happening among people who are already smokers,” says Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Health.
Still, as Thomas Farley, New York City’s health commissioner pointed out at the e-cig hearing earlier this month, the number of high school students who have tried e-cigs doubled from 2011 to 2012.
That’s not something Nanny Bloomberg is remotely interested in seeing more of.
We’ll let you know how it all turns out.