NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill banning e-cigarette use indoors as one of the last pieces of legislation he approved, an opponent protested Bloomberg’s policies by lighting up a real cigarette right inside City Hall.
Bloomberg signed 22 bills into law on Monday, according to published reports. >Among them was legislation passed by the City Council earlier this month that bans the use of electronic cigarettes from indoor public spaces where smoking is already prohibited.
As Bloomberg signed the bills, Audrey Silk, founder of the Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, lit an old-fashioned tobacco cigarette right in the middle of the City Hall Blue Room.
“This is a final image in your reign that couldn’t be more antithetical to the legacy you desperately want depicted. I return the respect,” Silk said as she lit the cigarette. “Good people disobey bad laws.”
“OK, thank you. We just don’t permit smoking in the public buildings, so I appreciate your comments,” Bloomberg said.
A citywide ban on smoking in indoor public places took effect in the city in 2003.
Silk later continued, “Over smoking, I’d like the press to understand that over lighting a cigarette, that millions of people have done, I was kind of appalled.”
“I think it’s time to leave,” Bloomberg responded. “Thank you very much.”
A security guard grabbed the cigarette from Silk, and she and a man who also lit a cigarette in the audience were escorted from the room, according to a New York Daily News report.
Under the bill, e-cigarettes will be prohibited in the same places as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products throughout the city.
Battery operated, the e-cigarette device heats up liquid nicotine and delivers a chemical-infused vapor. E-cigarettes are billed by many manufacturers as the cigarettes you can smoke anywhere.
The ban will into effect in four months. Businesses and restaurants would have another six months to put up signs indicating there is no smoking or “vaping” allowed.
Bloomberg also signed a bill instituting a ban on Styrofoam, and another creating a database tracking Superstorm Sandy recovery spending, the newspaper reported. The final bill approved the honorary renaming of six city streets, the paper reported.
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