Chicago on the Verge of Banning E-Cigarettes in Public Places Because They 'Normalize Smoking'

FIN e-cigarette adFIN e-cigarette adRemember when the Chicago City Council, unlike its counterpart in New York, decided not to rush into banning the use of electronic cigarettes in public places? As I noted last month, the proposal, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, encountered what the Chicago Sun-Times called "a surprise outpouring of opposition" from critics who cited the dearth of evidence that e-cigarettes pose a hazard to bystanders and worried that treating them like the real thing would discourage smokers from switching to a much healthier alternative. While those points remain valid, they are no longer dissuading Chicago's aldermen from imposing the same restrictions on vaping that currently apply to smoking. Yesterday, by a vote of 15 to 5, the city council's health and finance committees approved a bill adding e-cigarettes to Chicago's Clean Indoor Air Act. The full city council, where a total of 26 votes are needed to pass the ordinance, is expected to follow suit tomorrow. 

As in New York, supporters of the ban say vaping looks too much like smoking to be tolerated. E-cigarettes "normalize smoking," complained Alderman Will Burns, a co-sponsor of the ordinance. "They make it seem OK to smoke." Alderman Ray Colon, who opposes the ban, highlighted the absurdity of this argument:

The campaign is [more] against normalization of the appearance of mimicking smoking inside than it is [about] the health benefits. If we could prove that there is no health risk, you would still be here before us saying that normalization of smoking indoors is bad enough. We don't want the look of smoking inside. We don't even want you to pretend to smoke.

Chicago's Clean Indoor Act "prohibits smoking in virtually all enclosed public places and enclosed places of employment, including but not necessarily limited to bars, restaurants, shopping malls, recreational facilities (including enclosed sports arenas, stadiums, swimming pools, ice and roller rinks, arcades and bowling alleys), concert halls, auditoriums, convention facilities, government buildings and vehicles, public transportation facilities, coin laundries, meeting rooms, private clubs, public restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common-use areas in public buildings, apartment buildings and condominium buildings." Hence vaping will be allowed only in private residences, designated hotel rooms, and tobacco (and e-cigarette?) stores. You also can vape outdoors, as long as you remain more than 15 feet from building entrances. The temperature in Chicago peaked at 34 degrees today; the expected low tonight is 16.

"You're making people go outside," Colon noted. "You're treating it just as you would [a] tobacco cigarette. You're lumping it together in the same category, even though you don't really have any proof that it has any harm. You're saying, 'We’re going to regulate first and ask questions later.'" Although New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley claims regulating out of ignorance is the only responsible approach, that's true only if you ignore the costs of regulation. Alderman Brendan Reilly told his fellow council members he has "friends and family members who are using [e-cigarettes] to quit, to get away from combustible tobacco that kills people." If pushing vapers out into the cold deters such harm reduction, which seems likely, it will endanger people's health instead of protecting it.  

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As in New York, supporters of the ban say vaping looks too much like smoking to be tolerated.

    Oh, that can't possibly be their argument.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Are you claiming that an argument is too stupid to possibly be used as a justification for legislation?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    It is too stupid to be used as a justification for anything.

  • R C Dean||

    Yet, there it is. And, really, what other possible argument could there be?

  • Agammamon||

    There is *no* argument too stupid that someone won't use it for justification of a course of action.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    As in New York, supporters of the ban say vaping looks too much like smoking to be tolerated.

    It's not their real argument - their real argument is because they can.

    Though honestly - I think smoking got caught up in the "culture wars" - where most people against smoking bans were deemed to be conservatives and libertarians (and mostly they were I think).

    Vaping is seen as an economic alternative to the smoking - I think by many who pushed smoking bans, e-cig availability made prior work seem as a "good fight" which was now being lost to conservatives.

    & since any behavior by the evil side is evil... & since libs will risk no such thing as even a fake loss...

    Banning e-cigs seems like a good thing to do.

    Of course who really knows - all we know is it's incredibly stupid as it has zero logical/rational reasoning behind it... so anyone's guess is as good as mine.

  • Andrew S.||

  • PapayaSF||

    Indeed.

  • ||

    Every person who supports a vaping ban should have every rational person who interacts with them just sit there and go "so you want to prevent people from quitting smoking?" again and again and again. Say nothing else to them but that, just over and over and over. No matter what they say, no matter how much they try and deflect, that is the only question. There is nothing else.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Every person who supports a vaping ban should have every rational person who interacts with them just sit there and go "so you want to prevent people from quitting smoking?"

    Agreed, but I think most of these people think for the most part, only certain people smoke, and those people aren't their people, so truthfully they don't care.

    Even though when banning smoking in private establishments the government deemed public, the cry was always "my mother/sister/aunt/grandmother/etc" (usually a woman because it's all about sympathy) had to work in 12 different restaurants, never smoked, and died of lung cancer.

    Seems when banning e-cig one could ask - so people who might have prevented their cancer should just suck it up?

    But again - I doubt these people honestly care.

    Smokers equals people they don't like - so their desires, or legal/rational reasoning on their side - is simply inconvenient because it must be willfully ignored, but it is no way an impediment to their goals.

  • Killaz||

    I use to smoke whenever I felt like it. In the Age of Obama, it is something I've put on the back burner. The same goes for pot. Conversations would go like this:

    Square: I thought you quit.

    Me: What do you mean?

    Square: I haven't seen you smoke in months.

    Me: I smoke when I feel like it. I haven't felt like having the prime rib in months, but that doesn't mean I wont order one tomorrow.

    It goes whoosh over their heads that someone can actually enjoy something without a price to be paid for that pleasure.

  • ||

    Or that you can enjoy a "vice" occasionally with zero harm.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Why the FUCK is it anyone's business to determine for others what is, isn't, should be, or shouldn't be 'normal'? Fucking motherfucking fuckington! These human sacks of elitist spew are nothing more than gangbangers of the righteous stripe.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Look dude, the government is us, okay? We are the government. So it's our job to decide what's normal for us to do and what's not.

    Sometimes that means taking our money away from us. Other times that means throwing us in jail to teach ourselves what normal behavior is. And occasionally it means beating ourselves to death in the street for looking at us the wrong way.

    Why is that so confusing for you?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Same reason horses can be used for law enforcement, but not carriage rides.

    Same reason soda size can be mandated.

    Same reason O-care can force a newborn to owe the government money.

    Because many people believe they should be allowed to do just this - and when it comes to soda bans - the more we pay for other citizens' health care, the more this is going to come into play...

  • LarryA||

    the more we pay for other citizens' health care, the more this is going to come into play
    Which is double stupid, since keeping people healthy enough to live longer costs the government more, not less.

  • ||

    "They make it seem OK to smoke."

    It is okay to smoke you worthless piece of shit. Apparently the right people have not paid him off. If Burns really is such a tough guy he needs to go ahead and ban tobacco consumption completely. Then see how many of Jesse Jackson's Sr. and Jr. shakedowns parties he gets invited to in the future.

  • ||

    If I didn't grow up here and go to school, I would have left this city a long time ago. There's so much to do in Chicago but at the same time when you hear nonsense like this, I just want to carpetbomb the city.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Your hot dogs are good though.

  • Sudden||

    And the pizza

    *runs out of the room*

  • ||

    (fires wildly at Sudden, misses)

    Damn.

    (takes bite of thin crust pizza, chews contemplatively)

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yea, the corner piece is the most coveted.

  • ||

    Do not laugh. Spacca Napoli is the best damn pizza in the US, Makes life here worthwhile (well, that and Jazz Showcase).

  • Michael||

    And the pizza

    Not to mention that we cut it properly into squares too.

  • califernian||

    The girls are hot, black and white, the unhealthy food is delicious, the blues clubs are amazing. The weather is crap the politicians are horrible.

  • entropy||

    I have chosen to live just far enough from the city that, in the event of a nuclear bomb, I will not be irradiated myself, but will be able to irradiate marshmallows.

  • Rich||

    We don't even want you to pretend to smoke.

    Mark my words: School kids will be suspended for "making cigarette-related gestures" or some such crap.

  • ||

    Animists gonna animist.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Just wait until people start suing over it. Would that be fifth-hand smoke?

  • LarryA||

    Second-hand water vapor, and water drounds people.

  • UCrawford||

    Completely off-topic, but has anyone seen any stories about the work history of that retired cop who shot two people in a Florida movie theater for texting? Because he's made the national news before for killing someone...and had quite the history of citizen complaints, apparently.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/12.....edure.html

  • Austrian Anarchy||

  • Austrian Anarchy||

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Good Lord!

  • R C Dean||

    Don't recall the specifics, but the news story this morning had some cops and such talking about the case.

    You could tell they were really struggling with the idea that this guy is just a murderous goon who should be locked up. Because he's one of The Tribe, you know.

    As we have seen with Kelly Thomas, no matter how blatant and disgusting the crime, you can expect the cops and their enablers in the DA's office and on the bench to wave it off.

  • PapayaSF||

    This just shows that we need gun control! Only the police should be allowed to have guns!

    Oh, wait....

  • SIV||

    Are you sure it is the same Curtis Reeves?

    Overtown is one of my favorite songs.

    (Song is about copping smack.Video has footage of the riots)

  • SIV||

    UCrawford|1.14.14 @ 5:37PM|#

    Completely off-topic, but has anyone seen any stories about the work history of that retired cop who shot two people in a Florida movie theater for texting? Because he's made the national news before for killing someone...and had quite the history of citizen complaints, apparently.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/12.....edure.html

    WRONG GUY

    The Miami officer was Curtis B Reeves. He shot a looter during the 1982 Overtown riot who reportedly pointed a gun at him first. Curtis J Reeves was the former-Tampa officer who killed a movie patron who failed to respect his authoritah by shooting through the victim's wife's hand. They are not the same person.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Over the course of the unrest, the police said late today, about 20 people were injured, more than a dozen vehicles were burned or vandalized, and several stores were looted. The authorities made 44 arrests.

    How much unrest should we expect in response to the response?

  • PapayaSF||

    Can we ban Mike & Molly because it normalizes obesity? Can we ban Al Sharpton because he normalizes sleazy race-baiting self-promotion?

  • RishJoMo||

    this dude does not make any sense at all man.

    www.Anon-Global.tk

  • SIV||

  • db||

    It would be.nice.if Hollywood told them to pound fucking sand.

  • ||

    Please, please go tell them to fuck themselves. Hollywood is one of the few places that can without getting a Congressional inquiry up their ass, because so many Senators are in the pockets of various media, entertainment, and production companies.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Durbin and Markey are puritans from deep Blue States Read the letter for their "reasoning" for this. Democrats are potential allies against the War on Drugs, come again?

  • Vickie||

  • Flemur||

    Alderman Ray Colon extracts water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated.

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