You may have to take your e-cigs outside

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ALBANY - Electronic cigarettes and other vapor products will likely be banned from bars, restaurants and indoor workplaces after the state Senate approved the measure late Monday.

The Republican-led Senate voted unanimously to add vapor products to the Clean Indoor Air Act, the state law that banned smoking in most public, indoor spaces in 2003.

The Assembly, which approved a similar bill earlier this year, is expected to pass the measure before the scheduled end of the state's legislative session Wednesday.

It's likely to become law: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has previously pledged support.

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Advocates for including e-cigarettes in the ban were dismayed in early April when the measure fell out of the state's $153 billion budget, days before lawmakers approved the spending plan.

But the Senate's approval Monday cleared the final obstacle for the bill, which would take effect 30 days after Cuomo signs it. The Assembly had passed a similar bill earlier in the year before voting again Tuesday.

"This is a common-sense measure that will protect the health of our children and our hospitality workers," Julie Hart, state director of the American Cancer Society's lobbying arm, said in a statement.

"This is a common-sense measure that will protect the health of our children and our hospitality workers," Julie Hart, state director of the American Cancer Society's lobbying arm, said in a statement.

E-cigarettes, the battery-powered vapor devices, have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among teenagers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says teenagers are using e-cigarettes more than other forms of tobacco.

The Clean Indoor Air Acts bans smoking in a wide array of indoor spaces, such as workplaces, restaurants and bars, public transit systems and child-care centers.

The American Cancer Society and other advocates have long pushed to include treat vapor products like other forms of smoking and make them subject to the indoor smoking ban.

Manufacturers and retailers of vapor products have pushed back, urging lawmakers to reconsider.

Andrew Osborne, vice president of the New York State Vapor Association, said including vaping in the indoor ban may drive people back to traditional smoking.

"They're taking vapor products and they're just lumping it together with smoking," Osborne said. "The real loser is smokers, because they're the ones that get the message: 'Oh, vaping is the same as smoking; I guess I'll just keep smoking.'"

If signed by Cuomo, the ban would have a carve out for electronic cigarette stores, which would be allowed to let customers use their products in the stores.

Like the smoking ban, cigar bars and membership associations would also be able to allow vaping indoors. The ban would not apply to anyone's home or other private spaces that aren't workplaces or open to the public.