New York Man Charged with Offense Which Isn’t Against the Law
With electronic cigarettes — ‘eCigs’ — increasing in popularity, the law just isn’t keeping up, and challenging situations are growing. Despite being referred to as cigarettes, the devices emit nicotine ‘vapor’ instead of smoke. The safety of the devices are still being debated, but the absence of smoke and smell makes eCigs better for use indoors.
Notwithstanding several years of increasing use, few laws have been passed concerning the use of eCigs. The technology is new and evolving daily.
Jason Dewing, from upstate New York, was given a traffic ticket for vaping while driving in 2014. Dewing was given the ticket based on a technicality. Using an eCig is not illegal, but using a “portable electronic device” while the car is moving is outlawed.
The law was clearly written to regulate cell phone use while driving and that’s what Dewing was suspected of when he was pulled over.
The cop believed Dewing had a cell phone in his hand.
When the case moved to a courtroom, the judge claimed that an eCig could be classified as an electronic device. Despite protesting the judge’s ruling, Dewing was found guilty and intends to appeal his case.
“The way the law is written, an eCig can’t make a call or sent texts. It can’t be a portable electronic device,” Dewing said.
Major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, have started passing laws that treat eCigs like their traditional counterparts and limit them for indoor use.
According to the Public Health Law Center, New York’s law defines an e-Cigarette as an electronic device that delivers vapor which is inhaled by an individual. Sale restrictions are detailed in New York.