The New York City Council voted Thursday to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places where smoking is prohibited, including offices, restaurants, hospitals, parks, and beaches.
“Because many of the e-cigarettes are designed to look like cigarettes and be used just like them, they can lead to confusion or confrontation,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told CBS New York.
E-cigarettes use heated liquid nicotine to create a chemical-infused vapor and do not contain tobacco. According to the World Health Organization, the risks from e-cigarettes are undetermined.
“We are disappointed with the City Council’s decision today, as this amendment not only imposes unnecessary and unfair restrictions on people who have made the personal choice to switch to electronic cigarettes, but it also discourages a viable smoking alternative with significant harm reduction potential,” said Jim Raporte, president of blu e-Cig.
The use of e-cigarettes is also prohibited in North Dakota, New Jersey, and Utah, as well as in about 100 municipalities or counties across the country, according to American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.