It has been ruled in a New York court that vaping is not the same as smoking, so under state law a vaper cannot be charged with the violation of anti-smoking rules.
This is another step towards the gradual acceptance under law that there is a significant difference between the two and this is vital in the vaping industry with pending federal regulations.
In the case here Shawn Thomas, the defendant was caught vaping on the platform at a subway and was subsequently arrested. It is illegal to vape in many New York public places after the Smoke Free Air Act was amended to include e-cigarettes.
Thomas though was arrested under state law and the judge agreed that the laws that regulate smoking couldn’t be applied to vaping.
The state is able to amend its public health so that vaping is included with smoking prohibitions.
However, the distinction that has been made is meaningful to the vaping industry. This is not the first time though that the law has made the distinction with attorneys in Virginia and Arizona both saying that vaping is different.
Duncan Hunter, California Congressman has recently argued the distinction at a committee discussion over a bill amendment that would make vaping illegal on airplanes.
Vaping should be treated differently due to a number of reasons. The first is that so far research has showed that it is less harmful than smoking. Vaping does not create smoke, they do not contain tobacco and they do not involve any combustion.
Vaping is also seen as less intrusive as they do not smell and do not have any visible vapor.
The hope is that as more lawmakers and courts confirm that smoking and vaping are different then the better the chances that vaping will get regulation as a separate entity.