Oct. 24 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law Monday adding electronic cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act -- making them illegal anywhere tobacco cigarettes are already barred.
The law is the latest step in a push by many state and local governments to put e-cigarettes on the same level as tobacco products.
"These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them," Cuomo said in a statement.
Although many New York counties had already banned e-cigarettes, the new law reduces public exposure to e-cigarette chemical fumes statewide.
"This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all," Cuomo said.
In July, Cuomo banned the use of e-cigarettes on the grounds of all state schools.
Many e-cigarettes, like tobacco, contain nicotine -- and because there's no limit on nicotine levels or a full understanding of other chemicals emitted in "vaping" devices, health experts have said long-term adverse health effects can occur.
"E-cigarettes often contain toxic chemicals in addition to nicotine, something bystanders should not be forced to breathe," state Sen. Kemp Hannon said.
Another pending bill seeks to require e-cigarette sellers to register with the state as tobacco retailers do -- a tactic to mitigate sales to youths.
"Closing the e-cigarette loophole by including it in the Clean Indoor Air Act is a long-overdue step that will help protect every New Yorker's right to enjoy indoor public spaces, free from the intrusion of e-cigarette vapor," Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said.