PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- On Monday, the City of Portland voted in favor of banning e-cigarettes in public places.
The city already prohibits lighting up traditional cigarettes in public parks and restaurants; the new ordinance adds "vapors" to the list.
City council heard public comment for more than an hour. Many of the people who spoke against the ban argue e-cigarettes. or vaping. has helped them quit smoking regular cigarettes. One woman said she smoked for 14 years before she started vaping and was then able to completely stop. A former Portland resident, who said the device helped him quit as well, drove all the way from his new home in Boston to voice his opposition.
But in the end, those in favor of the ban convinced councilors had a more convincing argument, with the council voting seven to one. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA, and therefore their health risks are unknown. A respiratory therapist in Portland echoed that concern in public comment. A representative from the Maine Public Health Association also spoke in favor of the ban, saying e-cigarettes contain harmful and addictive chemicals.
"The health consequences of the use of e-cigarettes and exposure to second e-cigarette emissions are truly unknown. What is definite is that there is currently no scientific evidence establishing the safety of e-cigarettes," said Rhona Vosmus, a respiratory therapist.
Councilor Ed Suslovic, who's chair of the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee said Portland will now become the 275th town or city across the country to impose this type of ban. The ordinance will go into effect 30 days after the vote.