POLITICS

Chicago E-Cigarette Ban: Major City Adds E-Cigs To Public Smoking Ban

01/15/2014 01:21 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

Get ready to take that habit outside, e-cigarette smokers.

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday moved to ban the smoking of e-cigarettes in most indoor public spaces -- including restaurants and bars -- in addition to anywhere within 15 feet of a building entrance, just as traditional cigarettes are regulated under the city's existing indoor smoking ban.

Only four aldermen voted in opposition to the e-cigarette ban, while 45 voted in favor of the proposal backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Voting against the ban were Alds. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Rey Colon (35th), Nicholas Sposato (36th) and Brendan Rellly (42nd). Reilly was particularly vocal in his opposition to the proposal ahead of the vote.

On Monday, the City Council's Health and Finance Committees voted overwhelmingly -- 15-5 -- in support of the proposal, which also requires e-cigarettes be sold only behind the counter at stores.

While critics of the ban say e-cigarettes are harmless to bystanders and argue the change will make it more difficult for smokers who use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes, others in support of the ban say it will dissuade more people from picking up smoking in the first place.

New York City previously added e-cigarettes to their public smoking ban last month, while Los Angeles has also moved to regulate the battery-powered cigarettes and similar "vaping" devices just as they do traditional cigarettes. Just north of the city, Evanston passed a similar ordinance last year, NBC Chicago notes.

A new Illinois law that went into effect on Jan. 1 already bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

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