Democratic lawmakers push to ban e-cigs at Capitol

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Electronic cigarettes are being touted as the tobacco-free way for smokers to indulge their habits in public places without offending anyone — but not all on Capitol Hill are embracing that message.

A handful of Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill to ban the fake cigarettes in the same manner as regular smokes, the New York Post reported. Current law prohibits cigarette smoking inside the Capitol and nearby House and Senate buildings, and within 25 feet of those facilities.

E-cigs emit vapor, not smoke.

The lawmakers’ ban would follow the same lines of one in place in New York, where e-cigarettes are prohibited in public locations, including bars and restaurants, as well as parks.

The lawmakers — Rep. Henry Waxman, and Sens. Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Ed Markey, Tom Harkin and Barbara Boxer — admit they don’t know the health risks from smoking e-cigarettes.

But they say in a letter to the House Office Building Commission and to the Senate Committee on Rules that the ban constitutes “an appropriate precautionary step to promote public health and maintain a safe environment for staff and visitors of the institution and its grounds,” the New York Post said.

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