Updated February 15, 2014 6 23AM

Chicago would ban e cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, move them behind the counter and snuff out sales to minors, under a mayoral plan advanced Monday despite persistent aldermanic opposition.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel got his way one month after a surprise City Council uprising forced him to settle for the weaker of two ordinances designed to curb teen smoking.

Since then, the mayor has turned up the heat on recalcitrant aldermen.

He has framed it as a good vs. evil battle pitting Big Tobacco and its big money lobbyists against public health advocates determined to prevent young people from using electronic cigarettes as the gateway to a lifetime addiction.

On Monday, the lobbying campaign paid off.

After a heated debate that dragged on for hours and included pleas from self described vapers, the City Council s Health and Finance Committees voted 15 to 5 to regulate e cigarettes as tobacco products subject to Chicago s smoking ban.

That will move them behind the counter of retail stores, ban the sale to minors, prohibit adults from smoking e cigarettes in virtually all of indoor Chicago and within 15 feet of building entrances and empower the city to license e cigarette dealers.

E cigarettes provide a pathway to nicotine addiction. They normalize smoking. They make it seem okay to smoke, said Ald. Will Burns (4th), co sponsor of the ordinance.

E cigarettes should be treated like tobacco cigarettes. They have no place in our restaurants. They have no place in our offices. If people want to enjoy them, they can do that in the privacy of their own homes. They can do it on the public way. There s no prohibition against that. We re not banning it.

Last month, aldermen from across the city questioned whether the vapors from e cigarettes are any more dangerous to bystanders than a humidifier, a cup of tea or a pot full of boiling water used to cook pasta.

They further argued that the ban would discourage smokers from using e cigarettes to kick the habit.

On Monday, those same concerns were raised again.

You re making people go outside. You re treating it just as you would a tobacco cigarette. Even though you don t really have any proof that it has any harm, you re saying, We re gonna regulate first and ask questions later, said Ald. Rey Colon (35th).

The campaign is more against normalization of the appearance of mimicking smoking inside than it is about the health benefits. If we could prove that there is no health risk, you would still be here before us saying that normalization of smoking indoors is bad enough. We don t want the look of smoking inside. We don t even want you to pretend to smoke.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said he is all for putting e cigarettes behind the counter so minors can t buy them.

Where you lose me, frankly, is on the debate over the indoor use of this product. I don t know if there s an adverse health impact from second hand use. Frankly, no one has proven that yet, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Reilly said.

If the FDA tells this body, These are dangerous, we should absolutely take a look at all sorts of ways to make these hard to get. But, we don t have that information now.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) added, There might be some carcinogens in meat or some of the vegetables. We ve got open kitchens in restaurants and all of those vapors. There may be some carcinogens in them. Are we going to prohibit restaurants from cooking food? That is the point of contention. It has nothing to do with 18 year olds.

Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair acknowledged that the body of evidence against e cigarettes is not as robust as any of us would like it to be and it will be many more years before a concensus is reached.

My question for you is, who do you trust to provide you and your constituents with important health information? Do you side with the most trusted names in health and medicine or do you trust Big Tobacco companies that deliberately lied about the safety of light, low tar, slim and natural tobacco products? Choucair said.

Email fspielman

E-cigarettes to be banned for under-18s – telegraph

Minnesota legislators try to clear confusion over e-cigarettes

Children under the age of 18 will be banned from buying potentially “toxic” e cigarettes under new laws to be announced next week.

Ministers will also make it a criminal offence for the first time for adults to buy conventional cigarettes for under aged children, punishable with a fine of up to f2,500.

The moves come in response to concerns that growing numbers of children are taking up “e cigarettes”, before becoming addicted to nicotine and moving on to regular smoking.

The government s medical experts warned that there was no way to tell how damaging the new electronic vaporising devices were for young people s health.

Officials suggested that ministers had been moved to act following anecdotal evidence that e cigarettes were gaining in popularity, with some reports of children smoking them in class.

Related Articles

  • Tougher regulation for e cigarettes

    26 Jan 2014

  • Welsh e cigarette ban all you need to know about ‘vaping’

    02 Apr 2014

  • EU seeks ‘a ban on all currently available electronic cigarettes’

    28 Nov 2013

  • E cigarettes all you need to know

    13 Oct 2013

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, will back amendments to the Children and Families Bill to create a new “age of sale requirement” for e cigarettes and make “proxy” purchasing knowingly buying tobacco on behalf of someone under 18 illegal.

E cigarettes have become increasingly popular among adults who are trying to give up smoking. Some 1.3 million people in Britain are believed to have switched from smoking conventional cigarettes to the electronic vaporising devices.

E cigarettes give the smoker a hit of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, and are widely thought to be safer than cigarettes.

However, Professor Dame Sally Davies, the government s chief medical officer, said “We do not yet know the harm that e cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk free.

“E cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and the amount of nicotine and other chemical constituents and contaminants, including vaporised flavourings, varies between products meaning they could be extremely damaging to young people s health.”

At present there is no legal restriction on people under the age of 18 buying products like e cigarettes containing nicotine, which officials say represents a serious legal loophole at a time when e cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with teenagers.

Medical professionals are concerned that these products, which give young people a taste for nicotine, could lead to an increase in the number of teenagers smoking.

E cigarettes consist of a battery, a cartridge containing nicotine, a solution, and an atomiser to turn the solution into vapour.

The nicotine is delivered without a flame and without tobacco or tar and e cigarette users describe the experience as “vaping” rather than smoking.

In a bid to restrict children s access to cigarettes further, a new offence will be created which will mean any adult who buys cigarettes or other tobacco products for someone who is under 18 could be given a f50 fixed penalty notice or fined up to f2,500.

Jane Ellison, the Public Health Minister, said “Two thirds of smokers say they smoked regularly before they were 18, showing that this is an addiction largely taken up in childhood.

“This measure is designed to help protect children from the dangers of being bought cigarettes by irresponsible adults.”