Chicago's E-Cigarette Indoor Ban Takes Effect

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 29, 2014 3:30PM

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Image credit: Goodluz/Shutterstock.com
An ordinance regulating electronic cigarettes in the same manner as tobacco products in Chicago takes effect Tuesday, making Chicago one of the largest cities in the nation to impose restrictions on the increasingly popular “vaping” devices.

The ordinance, which was approved by a 45-4 vote in January after much debate and handwringing, requires e-cigs to be placed behind the counters of retail establishments; grants the city the power to license e-cigarette dealers; bans the sale of e-cigs to minors; prevent adults from breaking them out and puffing on them indoors under the Clean Indoor Air Act; and brings Chicago in line with a statewide measure passed last year.

Vaping enthusiasts argue that using e-cigarettes is a cessation tool to curb their smoking habits and isn’t as harmful as smoking traditional tobacco products. Supporters of the ordinance agreed with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s assessment e-cigs can be used as a “starter kit” for children to eventually make their way to smoking cigarettes.

The ordinance takes effect as the Food and Drug Administration announced this week it plans to regulate e-cigs for the first time by banning sales to minors and requiring health warnings on packaging. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last September that vaping use has doubled among high school students from 2011 to 2012; 80 percent of those surveyed indicated they also smoked.