Being such a popular product and becoming even a trend among former smokers, the electronic cigarette has drawn a lot of attention in the last few years and besides giving the users a chance to get their nicotine hit without the dangerous effects of the tar and carcinogens it also created a lot of controversy as it mimics analog cigarettes. Without sufficient medical proof, relaxed rules and regulations many argue that these devices might be hazardous to non-smokers, even though everybody agrees that they represent a far healthier alternative than their analog counterparts.
After vapers and future ecig users in New York got a major blow in January when the cities regulators decided to include electronic cigarettes in the same category as tobacco products, Chicago becomes the second large city in the US that bans e-cigarettes in bars and restaurants and other public places.
Exactly like regular smokers, people that want to use ecigarettes will not be allowed within 15 feet of a building entrance while using their device. According to the details of the ruling, Chicago folks will be allowed to use ecigs within retail tobacco shops and vaping rooms specifically designated inside a building as well as inside their private residences or vehicles. The city measure to ban public e-cig use was backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, so it was a losing battle from the start. Ultimately, the Chicago City Council voted in favor of the ban by 45-4.
“Having worked with the FDA, having encouraged them to take steps to protect individuals and children, they are usually an agency that leads from behind. And when it comes to the city of Chicago, when it comes to the people of the city of Chicago, when it comes to the children of the city of Chicago, I do not believe we should wait,” said Emanuel.
In addition to prohibiting electronic cigarette use in bars, offices and restaurants, this recent Chicago measure now forces convenience stores and vape shop owners to sell e-cigs behind the counter. Up until now, they could place these products in the same areas as their grocery products, allowing consumers to see and access them more easily.
One of the opponents to the ban was Alderman Brendan Reilly, age 42, a smoker, said “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 … We’re talking about treating two different products like they’re one, like they’re combustible cigarettes.”
Also, Alderman Rey Colon, 35th, another opponent of the ban said he dislikes how people who oppose greater restrictions on e-smoking have been accused of not having children’s best interests at heart. “I hate to keep using, I keep thinking of that movie ‘My Cousin Vinnie’ – ‘the youths, the youths.’ We keep using the children as an excuse to pass any ordinance we want to pass, because who can deny the children?” Colon said.
While forcing retailers to sell ecigs from behind the counter might keep youngsters away from these devices, the ban on vaping in public places is quite absurd, as more and more people are using these devices in order to quit their smoking habit.