Bloomberg's ultimate victory: NYC bans e-cigarettes in indoor public places because they look too much like cigarettes or something

Are they banning them because e-cigs are dangerous? Nope, not really. No one’s reached any firm conclusion that they’re harmful and pretty much everyone agrees that they’re less harmful than real cigarettes. Which, by the way, are themselves not harmful to bystanders according to one new study.

No, the reason public “vaping” needed to be banned is that it simply looks too much like smoking. It’d inconvenience the cops to make them pause to determine whether you’re puffing a ciggy or an e-ciggy. And in any case, vaping … “re-normalizes” the practice of public smoking. If you let people do something that may be harmless or even good for them, insofar as e-cigarettes are steering smokers away from a carcinogenic alternative, then other people might be inspired to take up a more dangerous variation of the practice. By that logic, I guess, drinking water in public places should be banned too for fear that it might “re-normalize” public boozing. That’s what makes this Bloomy’s greatest triumph: He’s a master of precedent-setting baby-step nannyism, and this sets the precedent that behavior that merely resembles disfavored behavior can and should be aggressively regulated.

Enjoy your water pistols while you can, kids.

Under the bill, e-cigarettes would be prohibited in the same places as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products throughout the city…

“Because many of the e-cigarettes are designed to look like cigarettes and be used just like them, they can lead to confusion or confrontation,” Quinn said.

The speaker added that the ban will end what she called the re-normalization of smoking in public places, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

“It’s not the norm anymore. Very few people feel uncomfortable now saying you can’t smoke in public. We don’t want to step backwards in that,” Quinn said.

Will it stand up in court? The soda-size ban was struck down by a state judge for being “arbitrary and capricious.” A ban on vaping without proof that it’s harmful seems ripe for the same result. But the health implications are beside the point. This is, I think, less about preventing people from endangering themselves by using e-cigs than urban progressives affirming their cultural disdain for smoking in all its forms. It’s a practice more common to people with lower incomes and less education; it’s retrograde in the truest sense, in that it’s far less common now than it was 40 years ago. Tolerating smoking/vaping just isn’t something that good liberal jurisdications do. Pro tip for the e-cig fans, then: If you want to turn this around, lobby Apple to start making its own model and to charge a crapload for it. I know you don’t want to pay more, but it’ll help establish vaping as something that smart, well heeled, gadget-minded professionals do. That ban will melt away in no time. Exit quotation: