New York voted 43-8 on Thursday to include electronic cigarettes in the ban on smoking in crowded public places. Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the measure. The ban would then be enforced in four months.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said before the poll on electronic cigarettes that the evidence on whether nicotine inhalers are truly safe is insufficient. She said that allowing devices in places where cigarettes are banned could also "renormalize" smoking and undermine the public perception that the habit is now acceptable only in the privacy of their own home.
"We do not want a step back with that," he said.
The vote came amid strong discrepancies within the public health circles about how to treat electronic cigarettes. Non-smoking cigarettes heat a chemical and emit vapors while smokers receive their nicotine dose.