E-cigarettes banned on CTA

Vape is the word of 2014 according to Oxford Dictionaries. The meaning is "to inhale or exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device." (Chuck Berman / Chicago Tribune 2013 / November 13, 2013)

Whether you call it an “e-cig,’’ a personal vaporizer or an electronic nicotine delivery system, the battery-powered device is now officially banned on all CTA property — no ifs, ands or butts.

The CTA board on Wednesday passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes at rail stations, on trains and on buses, effective immediately. The use of e-cigarettes and tobacco products is legal at CTA bus stops, which are located in the public way, officials said.

The CTA ordinance follows a Chicago ordinance that took effect in late April that explicitly prohibits people from using e-cigarettes in restaurants, bars and most other indoor public places in the city.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said he was not aware of a big problem with CTA riders using the devices, and he said a no-smoking policy already on the transit agency’s books should also cover e-cigarette enforcement. But CTA lawyers decided the new law was needed to provide consistency and to better protect the health of CTA customers and employees.

During the first five and a half months of this year, 324 tickets were issued by Chicago police to people smoking tobacco on CTA property, officials said. No tickets were issued for “vaping.’’

E-cigarettes have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry, according to news reports. Health organizations say they still are evaluating the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com