Students, professors split on Bloomberg’s e-cigarette ban

Felipe De La Hoz/WSN
Felipe De La Hoz/WSN

As one of his last acts as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg signed a law placing a ban on smoking electronic cigarettes at all locations where regular cigarettes are banned. Yet e-cigarette shops have still been opening up around the city. One, The Henley Vaporium, recently set up shop in Nolita.

According to the text of Bloomberg’s legislation, the Food and Drug Administration has found that some e-cigarettes contain toxins and carcinogens and the long-term effects of e-cigarettes require further study.

Carol Reiss, co-director of NYU Science Training Enhancement Program and professor of biology, supports Bloomberg’s law banning e-cigarettes, as well as his other health-related initiatives.

“He is a leader in public health legislation and executive orders,” Reiss said.


CAS sophomore Mike Saint-Antoine said e-cigarettes have positive effects.

“[E-cigarettes] shouldn’t be banned because they help people quit smoking real cigarettes,” Saint-Antoine said. “One of my friends was able to quit smoking actual cigarettes because of e-cigarettes.”

Saint-Antoine said Bloomberg’s ban infringes on basic rights.

“I think you should be able to do whatever you want with your health,” Saint-Antoine said. “If you get sick, then that’s your own fault. Freedom and personal responsibility are a great combination.”

Steinhardt junior Cayden Betzig said a benefit of e-cigarettes is that there is no risk of secondhand smoke.

“My understanding is that e-cigarettes create water vapor, not smoke, and therefore do not bother anyone around the smoker and therefore should not be banned,” Betzig said.

Efrain Azmitia, professor of biology at NYU, said e-cigarettes are a safe way to inhale nicotine.

“E-cigarettes are an effective and clean, safe [way] to deliver the drug nicotine by inhalation,” Azmitia said. “The e-cigarettes avoid the tar and many of the carcinogenic compounds found in smoke.”

Scott Sherman, professor of population health, medicine and psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, noted that there is a lot of debate over the health impact of e-cigarettes.

“There are different risks,” Sherman said.  “You’re vaporizing nicotine which is not a terrible thing but you’re also vaporizing other chemicals to help get it into your lungs, such as propylene glycol, [which] is one chemical in the air that you’re vaporizing and nobody really knows what the effects of those other chemicals are.”

Sherman said that for now there should be restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes.

“I would be in favor of treating them for now the same way we treat cigs, that if you can’t smoke in a restaurant I believe that right now it would make sense to not be allowed to vape in the restaurant either,” Sherman said. “And then if the science changes over the course of a few years, then we can always change the policies.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Jan. 29 print edition. Afeefa Tariq is a deputy news editor. Email her at [email protected].



  1. The purpose of regulation is to avoid/control/ameliorate what we know is harmful.

    Thus seat belt regulation is OK, it avoids harm and the cost to society and individuals of a known harm.

    In contrast we don’t know if orange juice is harmful. But we don’t ban orange juice.

    In greater contrast we know that potatoes are harmful (look up potato and sponins), but we don’t ban potatoes — the harm is not great enough to justify a ban.

    We don’t know if e-cigs are harmful. So far there is no evidence they are harmful. On the other hand, we do know they benefit many many many people as they have benefitted me — no tobacco cigarettes for ten months now.

    But what about the nicotine? What about it? I am addicted to nicotine but using e-cigarettes I’ve my nicotine consumption to about 25% of what it was 10 months ago. What about nicotine in second hand smoke? You get more nicotine from potatoes.

    Banning e-cigs is a travesty of good government and a simple exercise in arbitrary power over, and with no concern and actual harm caused to, the average citizen.

    Banning e-cigs is a violation of the constitutional right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

  2. Typical American, US moron, not listening or paying attention to the Global research performed on this product over the last 10 years, proving that it is safe! They consistently make these false claims about it not being safe in order to subterfuge the real reason they want it gone, it is costing them tax revenue, and allot of it. If you try quitting cigarettes through the conventional means, by which I am referring to pharma, nic gum, nic inhalers, the patch, all of these items have associated taxes on them, and they make money from them. The e-cig has no taxes on them, so they are “EVIL!” and are Extremely bad for our health all of a sudden, and the rest of the globe where scientists are performing clinical trials and extensive tests on these products, well their findings are wrong, because our corrupt FDA or Health Canada didn’t do it.

  3. I guess the consensus on how good or bad a product is depends on how deep your pockets are. E cigs seem to be the victim of the best ‘experts’ money can buy!


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