Should E-Cigarettes be Allowed in Downtown Chicago Apartment Buildings?

March 26, 2014 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 1 Minute

Chicago apartment buildings love a good trend and the latest is one that’s easy to get behind- a smoke-free policy. In late 2013, Presidential Towers 555 W Madison, Chicago’s largest apartment complex at 2,300 units, announced it would be smoke-free by 2015. Currently, nearly every brand new apartment building in Chicago has enforced a smoking ban.

But what about the latest trend in smoking – the e-cigarette? While Chicago figures out its rules and regulations around this tobacco-less alternative, the multifamily industry is taking a stance on the issue. According to a recent BisNow survey of 500 readers, the current majority (64%) favors banning e-cigs in non-smoking buildings.

The issue is still tough to debate, as the health effects of e-cigs have not yet been fully determined. According to a New York Times article earlier this month, sales of e-cigs more than doubled last year to $1.7B and consumption is expected to pass that of regular cigarettes in the next decade. Compared to the originals, e-cigs produce little cosmetic effects, which could lead them being more accepted in buildings. Supporters argue that e-cigs do not bring any risk of odor, burns, or staining to apartment buildings, while opponents express concern about the health impact on children and non-smokers.

Either way, the issue will be one that is difficult to enforce. Chicago buildings currently favor and promote environmentally-friendly living with all new buildings becoming LEED certified, which leads to the expectation that non-smoking will encompass all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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