NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New York City Council committee is going to consider proposed legislation that would include electronic cigarettes in the city’s ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other indoor public spaces.
The council’s Health Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the issue for Dec. 4. Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered and allow users to inhale vaporized liquid nicotine instead of tobacco smoke.
The legislation is sponsored by Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember James Gennaro. They say allowing e-cigarettes in places where tobacco cigarettes are banned threatens “effective enforcement” of the smoking ban and sends the wrong message to children that smoking is safe.
Also, “we all know that smoking is a particularly difficult habit to kick. Allowing smokers an easy way to maintain their nicotine intake indoors can make quitting even harder. Allowing the use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited sends the wrong message to children _ that smoking is safe,” the elected officials said in a statement.
Thomas Kiklas, co-founder and chief financial officer of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said the organization approves of regulations that treat e-cigarettes the same as tobacco cigarettes.
“It’s been our position that electronic cigarettes should be regulated as a tobacco product,” he said.
Earlier this year, the city marked the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Air Act.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week signed legislation passed by the City Council to increase the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The law included the purchase of e-cigarettes, as well as more traditional tobacco products.
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