Finally a clear distinction has made between smoking and vaping in the American legal system!
The ruling comes after a vaper was cited under a law reserved for tobacco usage in public places, for using his electronic cigarette on a New York subway platform, leading to him challenging the definition of smoking and the use of a tobacco law on vaping products in court.
The case referred to as “People vs. Thomas” resulted in victory for the vaper, as judge Laura Johnson explained that New York law defines smoking as “the burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco” - therefore, excluding vaping products as “An electronic cigarette neither burns nor contains tobacco,”
Futhermore the court presented that “Instead, the use of such a device, which is commonly referred to as ‘vaping,’ involves the inhalation of vaporized e-cigarette liquid consisting of water, nicotine, a base of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin and occasionally, flavouring.”
New York operates a strict no smoking policy in public places, similar to the United Kingdom, but unlike the United Kingdom, police have utilised the tobacco legislation to cite vapers using non-tobacco products.
The argument presented by the state who were seeking to uphold the initial citation and the inclusion of vaping in the tobacco law, argued there was no need for a separate vaping laws as “the courts of New York have yet to make a determination as to whether electronic cigarettes are to be viewed any differently under these sections than tobacco cigarettes.”
Nevertheless, the judge ruled this argument invalid as e-cigarettes do not meet the state’s own definition of smoking as they do not contain tobacco.
In the United Kingdom, regulations on vaping in public places are left to the establishment owners.
Although it is expected that tobacco laws will now be re-worded, especially as a state level, to include vaping products; the news a judge in a high profile case has ruled a clear definition between tobacco and e-cigarettes has been met with positivity.