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Chicago's ban on indoor e-cigarette use begins today

Ever been in a restaurant and/or bar that doesn’t allow smoking and still been surrounded by smoke, or “vapor”? For Chicagoans, that ends now. Today marks the start of a ban passed in January by the City Council. Now people who smoke e-cigarettes will have to take it outside with all other smokers.

Chicago has banned e-cigarettes public, indoor places.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The new rule also mandates that retailers must sell all e-cigarette products from behind a counter to make it more difficult for minors to purchase them. Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed for the ban, stating that e-cigarettes are a sort of gateway that will lead kids to smoking more. Particularly at issue are the various kid-friendly flavors, which include various candies.

Last week the Food and Drug administration announced that it will be regulating e-cigarettes for the first time. Under these regulations, minors will not be allowed to purchase the devices and all manufacturers must place a health warning on them.

This move also follows the Chicago Transit Authority’s decision to ban all e-cigs on its property, including at rail stations, on busses and trains. Bus stations still allow the use of all tobacco products. That decision was made, effective immediately, on June 11. No problems had been reported due to e-cigarettes, but the CTA felt the rule should be made to provide consistency and to promote the health of employees and travelers.

Opponents of the ban say that ‘vaping’ does not create the same harmful second-hand smoke cigarettes do and that this measure could be harmful for people who are trying to quit. This suggests that the FDA truly has some work to do in determining just what the side effects are of e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

Do you feel Chicago is starting a move other states will likely follow? Or should e-cigarettes still be allowed indoors?