On Thursday, the New York City Council voted nearly unanimously to ban the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in public places. The ban includes restaurants, bars, parks, and other public areas.
E-cigarettes were developed to be an alternative to smoking natural cigarettes. They contain the nicotine, that smokers crave, however they do not omit the odor that comes from a real cigarette. E-cigarettes, until now, also provided a convenience for smokers, where they did not have to step outside or off of the property to smoke.
“E-cigarettes threaten — in my opinion — to undermine enforcement of the Smoke-Free Air Act, and because many of the e-cigarettes are designed to look like cigarettes and be used just like them, they can lead to confusion or confrontation,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said before the final vote was tallied. Quinn believes by allowing people to smoke E-cigarettes, that it is making it seem as though smoking, in general, is acceptable in public places. “We don’t want to step backward,” she said.
The ban was approved 43 to 8, and should take effect in four months. The people, who opposed the bill, argued that the use of e-cigarettes is a safe alternative to smoking, and doesn't harm the people around them. “It’s disappointing for all the people who are really trying to benefit themselves and change their habit to something that is much healthier,” said Ilona Orshansky, an owner of an E-cigarette lounge.
The City Council also voted to ban plastic-foam food service containers and to require composting at large restaurants.
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