Chicago has now become the second major city following in the footsteps of New York to ban use of electronic cigarettes in most outdoor places, after four aldermen elected in the new ordinance on Wednesday in a 45-4 vote.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the new regulation, which bans people from smoking ecigarettes in bars, restaurants, and most other public places. Additionally, ecigarette smokers are now also required to stand 15 feet from a building entrance if smoking outdoors, essentially placing ecigarettes in the same category of prohibition as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. Under the same ordinance ecigarette vendors are now required to sell their products from behind a counter, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The restrictions on where they can be used will take affect on April 29.
The city council first looked into bringing ecigarettes into the city’s existing smoking ban in November when Mayor Emanuel brought his focus on tobacco regulations.
Chicago’s vote succeeds similar measures in other cities where local representatives are also working to fill in the holes in the tobacco use policies awaiting the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) issuance of federal regulations on the products. New York City was the first largest city to address the electronic cigarette debate when they passed a similar ban on the products as signed into law by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on December 31, his last day in office. On a 43-8 vote, ecigarettes are now prohibited for use in public places such as bars, restaurants, and city parks, where traditional cigarette smoking had long since been banned.
And it looks like California is not far behind New York City and Chicago as this past Monday; Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) has introduced a bill, which would effectively ban the online sales of ecigarettes and tobacco in the state.
But not all are so willing to stigmatize the use of ecigarettes, Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward), a former smoker, was one of four aldermen who supported the opposition of the indoor ban on ecigarettes. He defended his side on an interview with Steve Cochran on the Chicago radio station WGN 720. Reilly, who noted that he is using ecigarettes to help himself quit, was quite vocal in his dissent, stating that it was wrong to treat a product that is being used as an alternative to quit smoking in the same way as its combustible counterpart. “I think that people should have more options,” Reilly stated, “…to put people out on the sidewalk with smokers to use their ecigarettes, I think that’s a bit ironic.”