CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’ve taken up use of electronic cigarettes in an effort to kick the habit – or simply get your nicotine fix without the smoke – you might soon have to find another option in most places in Chicago.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports aldermen have begun debating a measure that would ban the use of e-cigarettes anywhere smoking is prohibited under the city’s smoking ban.
That ban applies to virtually any indoor area in the city – except private homes and vehicles, designated smoking rooms at hotels, and retail tobacco shops. Smoking is also banned anywhere within 15 feet of a building entrance.
At least one proposal also would require anyone selling e-cigarettes to have a tobacco license.
Electronic cigarettes typically use a heating element to vaporize a flavored liquid solution that often contains nicotine. They also usually are designed to resemble cigarettes, but emit only a vaporized liquid, not smoke.
The City Council’s Finance and Health committees met jointly Monday to discuss two measures that would treat so-called e-cigarettes almost the same as tobacco products, because of their vapors – especially if they deliver nicotine to a user’s system.
However, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said the proposals are overreaching.
“There’s not enough evidence out there, and so we are really jumping the gun. I don’t think that we’re being proactive, and we’re punishing a group of people for trying not to smoke,” she said.
That statement drew applause from opponents who attended the meeting to debate the proposed e-cigarette bans.
Ald. George Cardenas (12th) said there’s enough cause for worry about e-cigarettes.
“The data that we have on hand that water vapor from electronic cigarettes has been shown to contain addictive nicotine, and heavy metals,” he said.
But even backers of the proposals acknowledged the concentrations of chemicals in e-cigarettes are not the same as in traditional cigarettes.