Chicago Bans E-cigs from Public Places
It’s not news that the city Chicago has been at war with electronic cigarettes. The E-Cig community has been fighting tooth and nail with lawmakers to prevent further regulation from happening. For those of you who do not know, Chicago has been passing one regulation after another this year. After an overwhelming 45-4 vote to regulate E-Cigs back in January, E-Cigs have been banned in virtually all public indoor places. Many businesses have adopted this policy as well. Not just restaurants and bookstores, we’re talking about bars as well. Often times E-Cig users have to join regular smokers outdoors to enjoy their E-Cigs, not the most enjoyable thing to be vaping in while getting second-hand smoke. Recently Chicago has issued a ban on all public parks as well.
Now you may be thinking, hey a park is a public place full of children and folks walking their dogs. This may be true, but Chicago is an enormous city. Often time’s public events are held in the local parks; events such as Lollapalooza and Riot Fest that gather large crowds of people for an outdoor concert event. I want to point out E-Cigs weren’t being discriminated and wasn’t the target of the ban; rather it was the tobacco cigarettes that were being banned from the parks and since E-Cigs are being grouped as a tobacco product, E-Cig usage is being banned as well.
Other cities such as New York and San Diego have already adopted such policies as part of their clean air act. In fact in Florida, if a device isn’t a cig-a-like or a vape pen style E-Cig, it is being considered paraphernalia and would result in a ticket or an arrest. Sorry to get off topic, but I just learned this today and really had to share this tidbit as it was really interesting to me.
Interestingly enough, the ban in public parks are being “self-policed” for the Lollapalooza event, so although there is a ban, it is being self-enforced. From the article, the Park District Superintendent stated that no arrests will be made nor will tickets be issued if people were to break the rules. Apparently it is more about self-awareness more than anything else. This actually bothered me a good bit. Why go into the lengths of banning something if you are not going to enforce it? I mean I’m happy that people attending outdoor concerts are free to use their E-Cigs but at the same time, it puts a negative aspect to it. It is as though they will be seen as doing something wrong. E-Cig users would be chastised by their peers with evil eyes and glaring looks of disapproval. This, of course, conflicts with what Timothy King, Chicago Park District First Deputy General Counsel has stated. Councilman King stated that although self-policed, but if ticketed the fine could be as high as $500.
It seems to me since the ban was issued so close to the event, lawmakers may turn a blind eye this one time. There may not be police offers patrolling the park for E-Cig users, however if caught I believe the fine could be very real as Chicago (as well as many other cities) are very serious about their clean air act and considering how E-Cigs are considered (to them anyway) as a tobacco product, E-Cigs will be no exception to their clean air policy.
Article can be found below: