NYC Restaurant Owners Not Sure What to Make of E-Cigs

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Photo: v2 Cigs

Does smoking an e-cigarette count as actual smoking? That's what the city's chefs and restaurateurs are apparently trying to figure out. Businessweek canvassed the city and found a variety of policies for the e-smokes (which release no actual smoke and manufacturers claim are odorless). Costata, Nobu, and Torrisi Italian Specialities are fine with it. Eleven Madison Park lets them slide in the lounge but not in the main dining room. Carlos Mariachi bans them at Blanca because he says they release a "weird flavor" that messes with his tasting menu. And Le Bernardin takes the most sensible approach of all, banning them simply on the basis that they're tacky. Per Eric Ripert, "It's weird to see someone smoking with a plastic cigarette." [Businessweek]