E-cigarettes are not permitted indoors or within 15 feet of a building entrance in Chicago. This week an e-cigarette prohibition was voted into law by a 45-4 landslide. The ban is in effect for public spaces such as offices, bars, and restaurants as well as outside of the doors of public buildings. The ruling replicates the ban on actual cigarettes in public spaces.
Advertisements from e-cigarette makers often tell consumers that an e-cigarette can get the job done where a traditional cigarette cannot because of laws regulating smoking in public. However, this statement is slowly being eroded. One of the makers of e-cigarettes, Blu Cigs, even goes so far as to say that smokers can enjoy an e-cigarette on a plane. When asked, many American airline companies gave statements to the contrary. E-cigarettes are largely not allowed on planes.
What is allowed on airplanes? Nicotine patches and nicotine gum are the only nicotine sources allowed across the board. Nicotine gum comes in two doses, two milligrams and four milligrams. Nicotine patches deliver 5-21 milligrams of the drug. E-cigarettes have a nicotine strength between six and 18 milligrams and come in many flavors. E-cigarettes come in two basic flavors, tobacco or menthol. The two choices can be altered by fruit flavors such as apple or lemon. In this regard, the battery operated e-cigarette with its vaporized smoke is somewhat similar to the Middle Eastern water pipe tradition which adds fruit flavors to the tobacco.
It should not come as a surprise that the e-cigarette is not permitted in Chicago, as Chicago is simply following in the footsteps of several other American cities. New York City prohibited the use of e-cigarettes in December of 2013. Complaints against the use of e-cigarettes in public range from the observation that it is difficult for children to differentiate between an e-cigarette and a cigarette to the uncertainty about the vapors the e-cigarettes emit. In addition, there is concern about the addictive qualities of the new tobacco replacement. Although the U.S .Food and Drug Administration has no jurisdiction over the e-cigarettes as they are not considered to provide drugs to the body’s system, they did issue a warning about potential health risks after the product tested for harmful chemicals such as diethylene glycol, a chemical akin to antifreeze components.
E-cigarettes came on the market in 2007 as an aid to stop smoking but quickly gathered users who found they could smoke an e-cigarette where normal cigarettes are prohibited. Companies that produce the popular e-cigarettes now number above 200. The effects of long term smoking of e-cigarettes are not known, however a study has been released of the short term effects of using e-cigarettes that states that it is not certain that products are less harmful on a person’s health than normal cigarettes. While in the future studies will doubtless be made on the health risks of e-cigarettes, the news that e-cigarettes are not permitted in Chicago in public spaces may inspire more cities also ban e-cigarettes.
By Persephone Abbott