Should E-Cigarettes Be Banned in Public Places?

Should E-Cigarettes Be Banned in Public Places?
Photo (cc) by Joseph.Morris

This post comes from Marjorie Musick.

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus puffed on an electronic cigarette at the Golden Globes, but should these substitutes for cigarettes really be allowed in indoor public places?

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday voted to ban e-cigarettes in most indoor public locations, including restaurants and bars. “The measure also will require retailers to sell e-cigarettes from behind the counter so it’s harder for minors to get their hands on them,” the Chicago Tribune said.

New York City’s City Council last month voted to include e-cigarettes under its ban on smoking in indoor public places. That measure will take effect in four months, according to The Associated Press. It adds:

Several states, including New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah and North Dakota, have already expanded their indoor smoking bans to include e-cigarettes. Other bans have been proposed in several big cities. About half of the states restrict sales to minors.

What’s all the fuss about? Users of e-cigarettes are inhaling and exhaling a nicotine-infused vapor. While the vapor doesn’t have all of the nasty stuff found in cigarette smoke, not much is known about its health effects on other people.

Consumer Reports, which reported on new research, says:

This study adds to the evidence that vapor from e-cigs is probably safer to inhale secondhand than cigarette smoke — though that doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent risk-free. If you’re pregnant or have young children with you, or if you have a cardiovascular condition that might be aggravated by exposure to nicotine, you might want to politely move away if someone powers up an e-cigarette in your vicinity.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it’s going to regulate e-cigarettes but hasn’t gotten around to it yet., AP says.

Do you think that e-cigarettes should be banned where people congregate? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Karen Datko contributed to this report.

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