Starting today, Chicagoans will have to do their vaping outside as a ban on electronic cigarettes in indoor public places takes effect.
The new rule, which the City Council passed in January at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s urging, prohibits people from using e-cigarettes in restaurants, bars and most other indoor public places in the city. The measure also requires retailers to sell e-cigarettes from behind the counter so it’s harder for minors to get their hands on them.
The Chicago rules will become law a week after the Food and Drug Administration announced it plans to begin regulating e-cigarettes for the first time by banning sales to minors and requiring manufacturers to put health warnings on them.
Emanuel pushed the city rules in part on the grounds e-cigarettes are “gateway products” that get kids hooked on smoking with their candy flavors. Supporters of the indoor ban said Chicago couldn’t wait for the FDA to make a ruling on whether being in close proximity to someone using an e-cigarette in a bar or restaurant is harmful like second hand smoke.
People who spoke against the indoor ban said the products are less harmful than conventional cigarettes and are helpful to smokers who are trying to quit, suggesting outlawing e-cigarette use inside will be a boon to big tobacco companies.
They also argued the vapor people exhale while using e-cigarettes does not cause harm like second hand smoke.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair will hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the new rules.
Source: Chicago Tribune