New York City Council Passes E-Cigarette Ban

NEW YORK -- The New York City Council issued a final notice for the use of electronic cigarettes indoors.

At its last meeting of the year on Thursday, council members voted 43-to-8 to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in locations such as restaurants, bars and city parks where smoking is already banned.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn said before the vote that allowing the devices into places where cigarettes are now banned could "renormalize" smoking and undermine the public perception that the habit is now acceptable only in the privacy of one's own home, according to reports.

However, Councilman James Oddo, who supported the first ban on smoking, said this one goes too far. Smoking inside bars and restaurants poses a real risk to those who work there; whether the vapor of e-cigarettes does the same is unclear, he said. He also cited the use of e-cigarettes by some who are trying to quit smoking actual cigarettes, The Staten Island Advance reported.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the measure before he leaves office on Dec. 31. Once signed, the measure will go into effect in 120 days.

In a statement to the Bloomberg news outlet, Lorillard Inc.'s director of investor relations spoke out against the ban. "Making less-harmful products widely available to smokers should be a top priority," said Robert Bannon. "However, the NYC e-cigarette ban will only discourage smokers of combustible cigarettes who want to switch to an alternative product."

In Chicago, a similar move to treat e-cigarettes as tobacco products -- which was backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- was blocked earlier this month.

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