Evanston aldermen postponed action Monday on proposed restrictions on electronic cigarettes after several users said there’s no good reason to limit their use

But the trigger for the delay was discovery that while a staff memo accompanying the ordinance said it would restrict both use and sale — the ordinance text only dealt with sales.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz asked that the ordinance be held until the next meeting so the correct version could be provided.

The ordinance was introduced with the same flaws at the City Council’s last meeting, but no one discovered the problem until Monday night.

Tom Kendall, 724 Mulford St., says electronic cigarettes — which deliver a nicotene mist to users — pose no risks to people nearby. And he said they are the most effective tobacco use reduction technique available.

He said many former smokers who now are able to use electronic cigarettes in restaurants would be driven out of the city by the ordinance.

Another speaker said his father died last year of complications from cancer brought on by smoking, and that if he’d been able use electronic cigarettes he might be still alive now.

A city staff memo supporting the proposed restrictions noted that because e-cigarettes are relatively new, few studies have been done of the health consequences of their use.

But it argued that their use in public places should be banned because, “since they closely resemble cigarettes, it may lead people to believe that it is okay to smoke in areas that are smoke-free.”

Top: An image from the website of blu eCigs, a product of Lorillard Technologies.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. E-cig safety

    "Tom Kendall, 724 Mulford St., says electronic cigarettes — which deliver a nicotene mist to users — pose no risks to people nearby."

    And there was a recent study done which all but proves that vapor is harmless to bystanders.

  2. As an ex-smoker I support the use of e-cigarettes

    This is overreach, plain and simple. Go ahead, City of Evanston, outlaw the use of e-cigarettes on public safety grounds.  Do they cause automobile deaths?  Do they cause cirrhosis of the liver?  Are they a significant factor 80% of the nation's inmates? 

    No, but alcohol is involved in all three of these public health issues.

    So, do you plan to outlaw the use of alcohol in restaurants? Hypocrites.

  3. Ridiculous

    That is ridiculous. You are going to ban something that saves lives and at the same time twist and turn it into something bad? If you really wanted to make a possitive difference, ban cigarettes and promote e-cigs.

  4. Egregious non-use of reason

    'But it argued that their use in public places should be banned because, "since they closely resemble cigarettes, it may lead people to believe that it is okay to smoke in areas that are smoke-free."'

    In other news, drinking of soda in schools has been banned because students see others drinking soda, and assume it's all right to chug 40-oz malt liquor.

    Adults are not particularly dim. Odds are pretty good that they're not going to confuse e-cigs with burning wads of tobacco.

  5. Ban real cigarettes first

    Soon any people that have alterior motives will be found out!  Disclosures about money pacts with Big Pharma, You will soon be out numbered millions are using E-Cigarettes, the first time in history the tobacco companies are threatened, the Pharmaceutical companies are shown to be unable to address the smoker's needs other than to make billions or trillions off of the illnesses that smoking causes.  A Government, that may or may not be able to pay it's bills, hurting more,  without the huge revenues it takes from smokers.  You are bowing down to MONEY TYRANTS that have no interest in humanity or in health!  WE WILL OUT NUMBER YOU!

  6. To ban E-cigs is totally unfair.

    Electronic cigarettes are safe period ,i smoked 33 yrs never thought id qiut and i did just like that ,There are al kinds of uneducated articles all over and their wrong in claiming that they are unsafe ,people are making false claims with no facts to back up what they are saying ,You want to ban something ban tobacco cigarettes that have been killing people for 100s of years!

  7. Did they ban water because it looks like vodka?

    Funny how fog machines used at Halloween parties, concerts and school plays were never an issue, nobody worried about what was in them while they were flooding rooms filled with people of all ages. Why would anyone worry, it's pretend fog.
    Nobody has worried about what a Nicotrol Inhaler user exhales.
    Use a blend of those exact same technologies to make pretend smoke and deliver nicotine in an effective way to fool the mind of a smoker so they can actually quit smoking, suddenly the anti-smokers are up in arms because it looks like smoking. No proof needed of any harm, ban it based on how it looks.
    Did they ban water during Prohibition because it looks like vodka?

    I can kind of understand the minor sales ban. In spite of IL already having a minor ban set to go into effect that is further reaching than Evanston's proposal this is probably a method to get fine money away from the state and into the local pockets.
    I'm all for minor bans and this probably makes sense in some nonsensical government way.

    But the use ban is complete idiocy if for the reasons stated, concern about health. It is forcing ex-smokers to inhale smoke.
    Push me out with the smokers to inhale smoke and I'm going to end up smoking again. This is worse than making alcoholics drink water in bars, at least they wouldn't be inhaling other people's alcohol.
    If and when I have physical damage because of what I was forced to do by government laws I'm going to find a shyster lawyer to go knocking on the doors of those responsible for financial restitution for my damages. Nobody can truthfully say they didn't realize sending an ex-smoker out with smokers would have the results of them smoking again when that temptation was one of the excuses used for the smoking bans.

  8. How about common sense?

    Several recent studies show e-cigarettes are a significant harm reduction method for smokers and what are now former smokers using the devices. There is no second hand risks to others nearby. While long term effects are unknown due to the relatively newness of these… that is no reason to restrict or ban the use.

    Common sense would advocate restricting sales to adults over 18 only.

    Allow business owners to allow or prohibit usage of e-cigarettes by adults as they see fit.

    This would seem the most common sense approach to regulation fo these products. Fear should not drive outright banning just because it looks like something that is known to be dangerous to the health of others.

  9. A smokers story

    I smoked for 33 years. 33 years, sometimes I loved it , sometimes I hated it, but I always did it. The nicotine patch, nicotine gum, Welbutrin, Chantix, none of them really even put a dent in my smoking habit. Cold turkey? Hah! After two days my boss at the time threw a carton of Camel non-filters (my brand of choice at the time) at me and said "Smoke you suminabiscus! You're killing my business" (quote edited Johnny Dangerously style for family consumption). I took that to mean I was a mite cranky.

      Now I've been smoke free for almost a year. This isn't an accomplishment, it's a fargin' MIRACLE! I no longer reek of tobacco smoke, I don't hack up phlegm for half an hour after I wake up, I breathe much more freely, and I haven't killed or seriously injured anyone as a result of quitting.

      How did this happen you may ask? My Doctor recommended trying electronic cigarettes (which I had tried 2009 with no success) and an acquaintance steered me towards a decent brand.

      There has been a concerted effort to ban or over regulate e cigarettes for years now, practically since their invention. Let me be clear about this, I have no problem with restricting sales to persons over 18 years of age, or protecting consumers with quality control measures as far as the e liquid and hardware. I do however have a problem with those who would ban these products or regulate them to the point where they were useless, flavorless, unusable crap.

      Please, if you are a vaper, former vaper, a smoker or former smoker, or just someone who loves a smoker or vaper, or even someone who has lost a loved one to smoking and would like to help prevent that from happening to others support Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR). I do not recommend vaping except as an alternative to smoking. There should be more research done to explore the effects of vaping, but the research to this point is pretty clear on the point that vaping is far less dangerous than smoking to the person vaping and carries no risk of second hand smoke. For more information regarding vaping and THR please check out the CASAA (The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association) website for details and news. While you're there, if you would like to join CASAA please do. It doesn't cost anything and only takes a few minutes.

  10. It is about social shame

    In the 19th century, cigarrettes where called "coffin nails."  The logic that smoking was a health risk never did much to deter people from lighting up.  The campaign to bring social shame to smoking, which included restrictive laws, but was much broader, finally resulted in significant drops in smoking the past 20 years.  Now we have a cigaratte like product without the health risks (none apparrent), but the social shame is still there.  

    It is not a logical basis for public policy, but it is what people respond to — especially in Evanston.

  11. The FDA, Health Insurance and green house gases.

    The FDA is locked in tight with big tobacco. That's why they haven't cleared these, yet the EU has. E cigarettes are a safer alternative. Patches, gum and pills have a dismal success rate and many people have difficulty going cold-turkey because there is a psychological and physical addiction to the habit. Even the tobacco companies can see their profits from regular cigarettes are dropping and they're quickly jumping on the band wagon to create a safer alternative. No burning fires, no ashes, no house gone, no glue ear in children, no smokers' cough, no nasty after smell, no bad breath (unless you're vaping on something resembling a skunk). Plus, imagine how e-cigarettes could be claimed as not using tobacco products on your health insurance? Oh no….the insurance companies will lose out on that extra revenue.

    As a former cigarette smoker, I have done cold turkey and it didn't last long enough. Plus, I always craved it. So then you're left with replacing one habit with another. Which one? Food? Obesity epidemic anyone?

    When I switched to e-cigarettes, and not the Blu's (which are a cheap and nasty ready-to-go alternative), I went through withdrawals from all the chemicals I wasn't getting! I had the fog you experience when you go cold turkey. If my vapor isn't affecting anyone, but possibly me (the results still aren't clear on the self-harm aspect, and I won't deny that), then the issue is public perception resulting in very little knowledge of the lesser of two evils.

    Yes, you still pay out of pocket, but unlike things like Champix that are supposed to help with the withdrawals, this doesn't even come close to all the health issues that stuff can cause (heart attack, stroke anyone?).

    If the public are worried about the nasty gases and chemicals from a vape, then I'd like everyone who owns a petrol, or diesel powered vehilce to sit down and let the rest stand up and take claim to their air. After all, it's about pollution and harmful chemicals, right?

  12. Not just restaraunts

    I am not opposed to not vaping in restaraunts and other eating establishement, I am opposed to Public restrictions.  With that said it would include business and places such as open air areas.  I would hate to think that an employer who allowed vaping would then not be able to allow his employees by law to vape while there working.  So that would mean an individual would have to excuse himself and go outside and vape in what are usually if not always smoking areas.. I made a descion to stop smoking and to vape so I would feel and be healthier. Now I would have to once again endor second hand smoke.  I myself can't stand the smell and ill effects that came with smoking.   If businesses choose to ban vaping for whatever reason they deem fit so be it, but may lose the vapers business.  I made the choice to quit smoking I would hate to think that my choice would be villiainized by my goverment.(cities,states). I was glad that Evanston chose to postpone their decision seeing that they wanted to gather more information, rather then decide based on ignorance.

  13. The studies have been done

    There have been studies done.

    Unfortunately since they are positive for electronic cigarettes, the anti smoking groups will not post them. 

    Many of them can be found at

    The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association

  14. I smoked “traditional”

    I smoked "traditional" ciggerette for 25 years (pack a day)

    after discovering and using a personal vaporizer….I haven't touched a traditional ciggerette since ( a lil over a year now)

    no "stink" from tobacco, no trash from ciggerette packs or butts and no stale smell from ash trays

  15. E-cigarettes won’t cause smokers to light up

    The concern that e-cigarette use indoors will cause smokers to light up is just plain silly. If someone sees a smoker light up a real cigarette and they know smoking is prohibited, do they go ahead and light up  themselves or do they alert management? If someone actually smoking a real cigarette in a no-smoking area wouldn't cause other smokers to "just light up," then how in the world would someone using an e-cigarette cause smokers to light up?

    Additionally, it's obvious that an e-cigarette in use is not someone "smoking." There is no smoke odor, no ash and the tip often lights up blue or green on a black battery that looks nothing like a Marlboro or Kool. Even the devices with a "realistic" orange tip obviously create no sidestream smoke (the smoke that comes off the tip of a cigarette), no smoke odor, no ash, no lingering smoke in the air and the device stays the same length (rather than burning down like a real cigarette.)  I've never seen a smoker try to light up because they saw me using my e-cigarette in an establishment.

    Also, the more people are seen using the devices, it eill be even less likely anyone will confuse an e-cigarette with a real cigarette. 

    If there were numerous complaints of smokers lighting up real cigarettes because of e-cigarettes being used, then there would be an argument for this ordinence. However, banning the use of a product nearly universally acknowledged to be orders of magnitudes safer than traditional cigarettes solely on "amy" and "could" and removing a huge incentive for smokers to switch is simply irrational.

    It should be up to the business to decide if they want to allow e-cigarette use or not. The government shouldn't intervene unless a true public health risk is clearly established and no risk has been found since e-cigarettes hit the US market in 2007.

  16. E-cigarettes help smokers quit

    E-cigarettes are a great alternative to regular cigarettes and go a long way in helping smokers quit as well.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *