Los Angeles Follows Trend, Bans E-Cigs
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12 to 0 to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public locations such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs. This ruling makes Los Angeles the second largest city after New York City to ban e-cigarettes within the United States.
Los Angeles' decision follows the popular nationwide trend of banning e-cigarettes from public places. So far, Boston and Chicago have also decided to make smoking an e-cigarette, called "vaping," illegal in certain public spaces. The Los Angeles ruling, however, is different because it will allow vaping in lounges, e-cigarette stores and for filming or theatrical reasons.
E-cigarettes are battery charged cigarettes that can be filled with different levels of liquid nicotine, which becomes inhalable when the cartridge is heated. With the crackdown on the tobacco industry over the past feel years, the e-cigarette industry has tried to take advantage by offering an alternative option. However, there are not enough research studies done on e-cigarettes and therefore, whether or not they are safe to use is unclear.
"We have an obligation to protect the workforce from the effects of secondhand aerosol exhaled by people who choose to 'vape' on e-cigarettes," said City Council member Mitch O'Farrell, who co-sponsored the proposal according to the Reuters Health. "We also have a responsibility to protect our youth and everyone else in public places from the carcinogens found in the ultra-fine particles in e-cigarette aerosol."
LA Council President, Herb Wesson, added according to HuffPost, "I'm telling you, the high percentage of kids that smoke, smoke because it's cool. And when you're 15 you want to be cool. I will not support anything -- anything -- that might attract one new smoker."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed a rule that would allow them to regulate e-cigarettes. By including e-cigarettes under the FDA's jurisdiction, the agency could potentially mandate these companies to register and pay fees. The companies would also be asked to obtain approval for any new products, and would not be able to market their products to children. The products would also have to include a list of ingredients and would no longer be allowed to be sold online.
"It's important that until we can establish that e-cigarette use is safe, we must err on the on the side of caution," said LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, who also collaborated on crafting LA's vaping ordinance.
Over the next few days, the proposal is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti.