Jacob Sullum, writing in Reason:
The New York City Council is considering a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in bars, restaurant, and other “public places”—not because there is any evidence that the devices pose a hazard but because they look too much like regular cigarettes. Councilman James Gennaro, a sponsor of the proposed ban, tells The New York Times, “We see these cigarettes are really starting to proliferate, and it’s unacceptable.” Why is it unacceptable? According to the Times, “Mr. Gennaro said children who could not differentiate between regular and electronic smoking were getting the message that smoking is socially acceptable.”
Jacob seems oddly unimpressed with the idea that things that look like other things should be banned lest “the children” be confused.
Although the Times says vaping in public remains legal thanks to “a loophole” in New York’s smoking ban, the truth is that vaping remains legal precisely because vaping is not smoking. By seeking to equate the two, control freaks like Gennaro may achieve the opposite of their avowed aim, increasing rather than reducing smoking-related illness. As Craig Weiss, president of the e-cigarette company NJoy, tells the Times, “If you make it just as inconvenient to use an electronic cigarette as a tobacco cigarette, people are just going to keep smoking their Marlboros.”