Heartland Institute Experts React to Chicago's Ban on Indoor E-Cigarette Use

January 15, 2014

The Chicago City Council today banned the use of electronic cigarettes indoors – treating e-cigarettes, which emit harmless water vapor, exactly like tobacco cigarettes, which emit smoke.

The following statements from tobacco policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a Chicago-based free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“By choosing to lump e-cigarettes into its smoking ban ordinance, Chicago has taken a lazy and shortsighted approach toward regulating what is a very different product than cigarettes. Although most e-cigarettes have nicotine derived from tobacco, they are very different from other tobacco products, and they should not be regulated the same way.

“E-cigarettes have far fewer consequences for personal and public health, and several studies have found e-cigarettes to be an effective and viable option for smokers seeking a nicotine replacement therapy. Adding e-cigarettes to the smoking ban only disrupts an increasingly popular and successful method of helping Chicagoans reduce smoking or quit altogether.”

Matthew Glans
Senior Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

“The goal of bans on smoking in public places has always been to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and to allow people fewer places to smoke, with the hope that it would cause them to quit smoking. Chicago’s proposed ban on e-cigarettes will do no good on either front.

“There’s no smoke from e-cigarettes, so the ban won’t reduce second-hand exposure. If anything it’ll increase it by causing more people to keep smoking cigarettes, rather than quit by switching to e-cigarettes. And by treating the dramatically less-harmful e-cigarettes like cigarettes, fewer people will be likely to make the switch.”

Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow, National Center for Public Policy Research
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.