New York City Council approves ban on e-cigarettes

By Daniel S Levine,

New York City council members made a flurry of decisions on Thursday during the last council session of the year. Among the bills that passed is one that bans e-cigarettes in places where smoking has already been banned.

NPR reports that the measure was supported by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who leaves office on Dec. 31, and health advocates. New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said recently that the popular e-cigarettes should be researched more, although “waiting to act could jeopardize the progress we have made over the last few years.”

Last month, The New York Times reported that the bill would ban the use of e-cigarettes in restaurants, parks, plazas and beaches - the same places where smoking has been banned since 2002.

“We see these cigarettes are really starting to proliferate, and it’s unacceptable,” councilman James Gennaro told the Times in November. “I get reports of people smoking cigarettes in public libraries. Certainly, they’re becoming more common in restaurants and bars.”

According to NBC New York, bans on e-cigarette use have already been put in place in New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah and North Dakota.

The city council passed over 20 bills this week, as 20 outgoing council members cast their final votes before leaving office. Other bills passed include a ban on plastic foam containers and the launch of a public website to help track where federal Superstorm Sandy funds are going.


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