One of the biggest debates that exists between vapers and non-vapers is whether or not vaping is the same as smoking. While the comparison will naturally be made, they are in fact different in many ways, and a New York court agrees.
Recently, a New York judge ruled that under New York State law, vaping is not the same as smoking, and ecigarette users cannot be prosecuted for violating anti-smoking laws that are currently in place.
“This is the latest sign of a gradual acceptance by lawmakers and legal systems that the distinction between the two is genuine and significant. In the face of imminent federal regulations, that distinction is paramount to the vaping industry,” says Kaleigh Rogers on Motherboard.
The issue of vaping vs. smoking was brought to light in the court case of People v. Thomas, after an ecigarette user, Shawn Thomas, was issued a fine for vaping on the subway. He decided to challenge the fine in court – and he won.
Here is the judge’s rationalization for his decision:
“‘Smoking’ means the burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco,” the ruling reads. “An electronic cigarette neither burns nor contains tobacco. Instead, the use of such a device, which is commonly referred to as ‘vaping,’ involves ‘the inhalation of vapourized e-cigarette liquid consisting of water, nicotine, a base of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin and occasionally, flavouring.’ This does not fit within the definition of ‘smoking’ under the law.”
Now that vaping has been legally ruled as not the same as smoking, there is a legal precedence for vapers to use when challenging new anti-vaping laws in their communities. However, this is only a small victory for the vaping community, and there is no doubt a large battle ahead for the foreseeable future.
“Maybe vaping on a plane is a bad idea, for example, but vaping in Central Park isn’t a big deal. Right now, the trend seems to be to just lasso smoking and vaping together, but as more research and information about vaping is revealed, that could gradually begin to change,” adds Rogers.
As vapers, it’s important to be respectful of other people’s space, whether you are at home or in public. You wouldn’t want others impeding on your space or making you uncomfortable. Choose when and where you vape with others in mind.
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