New Yorkers who’ve latched on to electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix at the local bar had their hopes snuffed out Thursday as the New York City Council overwhelmingly voted to add the smokeless smokes to the city’s ban on smoking in public places.

Even though the electronic cigarettes don’t produce secondhand smoke, the council voted 43 8 to ban the use of e cigarettes in restaurants, bars, city parks and any other places where smoking is already outlawed.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg who’s advocated, not always successfully, for a number of public health initiatives, like bans on plastic foam containers and sodas larger than 16 ounces is expected to sign the measure as one of his last actions in office, NBC New York reported.

If he does sign it, the ban would take effect in about four months.

Council President Christine Quinn said banning e cigarettes would make it easier to enforce the city’s ban on real smoking. Because they’re designed to look like real cigarettes, it can be tough for law enforcement officers, business owners and club bouncers to tell who’s really smoking and who’s only “vaping.”

Scientists generally agree that e cigarettes are less dangerous than real cigarettes, and researchers reported in September in the British medical journal The Lancet that they work about as well as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit.

They’re still highly addictive, however, and Quinn said OK’ing them could create new customers for tobacco products and undercut the message that smoking is something you should do only at home.

“We don’t want a step backward with that,” she said.

But Miguel Martin, president of Logic Technology Development, the nation’s third largest e cigarette manufacturer, argued that e cigarettes weren’t a gateway to real tobacco.

“That’s a non issue,” Martin told CNBC on Thursday. “The data indicates that about 99 percent of the vast amount of users of electronic cigarettes are already smokers.”

“We’re disappointed in the City Council’s position,” he said.

Most major U.S. cities have already banned smoking in indoors public places, in step with decades of evidence that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of dis ease, dis ability and death in the U.S.

Only a few places among them New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah and North Dakota, according to The Associated Press have included e cigarettes in their bans. But other major cities had been watching New York and were considering similar proposals, including Los Angeles and Chicago.

The City Council passed the measure in a flurry of activity during its final session of the year Thursday. It also endorsed Bloomberg’s call to phase in a ban on plastic foam food containers and passed a bill to set up a website to help people track how federal money is being spent on cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy.


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City council bans e-cigarettes indoors « cbs chicago

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E cigarettes are usually loaded with nicotine cartridges that give off an odorless vapor, instead of smoke, but supporters of the ban expressed fears the devices are a health risk.

Ald. Edward Burke (14th), the lead sponsor of the measure, said e cigarettes might be harmful, and allowing people to smoke them indoors would send the wrong message.

The use of these e cigarettes is being glamorized, and has the potential to reverse decades of progress that s been made to reduce smoking, and its associated health concerns, he said.

Opponents of the plan said there’s no evidence that shows the vapor from e cigarettes is harmful like second hand smoke, or even how it compares to smoking traditional tobacco products. They also said the city is now banning the use of a product that some smokers use in an effort to kick the habit.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) was among the no votes. He said he s trying to quit smoking, and is using e cigarettes to try to wean himself off nicotine.

You lose me when you want to treat a product that many people are using for cessation using it as an alternative to quit when you re treating it just like the product they re trying to get away from, he said.

The measure approved Wednesday also requires electronic cigarettes to be sold behind the counter of stores. The Emanuel administration has said the measure is intended to make it more difficult for kids to obtain electronic cigarettes a goal even opponents of the ban on indoor use of e cigarettes said they support.

The state already prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, just like cigarettes and other tobacco products.

At shops like Smoque in the South Loop, e cigarettes are prominently displayed to see and touch.

The new city law requires e cigs to be moved behind the counter to block access for kids.

The store owner calls that overkill.

“There’s already a law that passed January 1st in Illinois, you can’t sell to children. We never sell to anyone under 18,” said owner Jared Yacht.