The New York City council has voted to add electronic cigarettes to the city’s strict smoking ban.
Only weeks after New York became the first major city to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 21, the city council voted 43-8 to add electronic cigarettes to the city’s Smoke-Free Air Act.
The ban is the latest measure to be put in place by the mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg, who was awarded the ELF Award in 2008, has led several anti-tobacco initiatives during his time as mayor.
When he signs the latest bill, smoking e-cigarettes – or “vaping” – will be prohibited at public and private venues such as beaches, parks, restaurants and office buildings. Once signed, the new regulations will come in to effect in 120 days.
The council speaker, Christine Quinn, who sponsored the bill, said that the public use of e-cigarettes threatened to undermine enforcement of anti-smoking laws because their appearance was similar to traditional cigarettes and could “renormalise smoking in public places.”
The debate over risks versus benefits of e-cigarettes is still being argued. The European Union has moved to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes, while the US states of Utah, North Dakota and New Jersey have banned their use in any place where smoking is not allowed.
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