'Vapers' Heat Up E-Cig Debate in Council

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A protestor at New York City Council vapes, before the Council added e-cigarettes to the Indoor Clean Air Act. Some health leaders want to extend that ban to the rest of the state and beyond. (William Alatriste / New York City Council)

New York City Hall played host to a raucous—and vapor-filled—hearing Wednesday on a proposal to extend the city's smoking ban to also prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes indoors.

Opponents packed the elegant Council Chambers and at times turned on their e-cigarettes, which emit water vapor and a sweet smell but not smoke.

The Bloomberg administration came out in support of the ban. New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said at the City Council hearing that e-cigarettes look too similar to regular cigarettes.

Farley said on a busy weekend the resemblance could confuse business owners, who are required by law to ban smoking from their establishments.  

“There is no city enforcement: 99 percent of the time of the Smoke-Free Air Act,” Farley said. “It ends up being self-enforcing by other people, in a bar, a restaurant… If they can’t distinguish this, then that could really fall apart.”

Opponents of the bill raised their e-cigarettes during Farley's testimony to demonstrate that they look and smell very different.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn nicotine-lined liquid into vapor. Some cities and states have already or are considering similar proposals.


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Comments [5]

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May. 20 2014 07:34 AM
ChrisC from Park Slope

OMG That man is smoking indoors! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! Oh wait no it's harmless vapor. Well I feel dumb now so SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!

Dec. 05 2013 03:55 PM

Can't distinguish between an e-cig and a real one? It's not that hard. Even if there was some difficulty distinguishing them visually, which there really isn't after you've seen an e-cig once or twice, cigarette smoke reeks while e-cig vapor pretty much smells like nothing.

I could see a ban if e-cig vapor posed health risks like second hand smoke, but claiming they could cause the smoking ban to crumble is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

Dec. 05 2013 12:11 PM

they are not necessarily nicotine filled. Depending on what you choose you can get nicotine free, as I do.

Dec. 05 2013 11:13 AM

Check those grammar errors in the second to last paragraph.

Dec. 05 2013 11:09 AM

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