THE BRONX - A public ban has gone into effect citywide for electronic cigarettes.
It's now illegal to smoke e-cigarettes in public places, similar to the ban on real cigarettes that went into effect in 2002. Places where e-cigarettes are banned now include bars, restaurants, beaches and parks.
Diego Ostolaza, who owns an e-cigarette store that opened earlier this year, is against the ban. He thinks tobacco companies pushed the city into passing the law, as tobacco companies are losing money to e-cigarettes. Ostolaza and others against the ban say some kinds of e-cigarettes are made to help smokers quit and aren't a health threat.
Those who passed the ban say e-cigarettes are marketed to teens, pointing out that some come in different candy-like flavors.
The city's Department of Health has a grace period on the ban until Aug. 1, but after that, the department proposed a rule to set the penalty at $1,000.