Los Angeles mulling proposal to ban electronic cigarettes in public places

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A committee on the Los Angeles City Council is setting the groundwork to ban e-cigarettes in public places.

The committee approved a proposal that would ban electronic cigarettes from being used at farmers markets, parks, recreational areas, beaches, bars, nightclubs and outdoor dining areas, CBS Los Angeles reported. It would also restrict the sale and use of them in smoking clubs to adults 18 and older.

 

The Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee of the council recommended the ordinance, which would have to get approved by the full city council before becoming law.

“Vaping lounges” and film production sets would be exempt.

New York City lawmakers approved a measure last December to include e-cigarettes in the city's public smoking ban. 

One month later, Chicago’s City Council approved a proposal to ban e-cigarettes in indoor public areas like offices, and within certain distance of building entrances.

E-cigarettes are reusable metal tubes that contain nicotine-laced liquid that releases vapor when smoked. 

The products are becoming increasingly popular.  

In 2011, e-cigarettes sales approached $300 million and a year later, they had more than doubled, to $600 million, according to a June 2013 report from Wells Fargo Securities Analysts say this year, CBS This Morning reported last July. Sales in 2013 were expected to reach over $1 billion.

Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found increases in e-cig use among adults and high school and middle students.

But medical experts have expressed concerns that the products are not well-studied, and may contain harmful substances, despite perceptions that they are safer. 

 

The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigs unless they claim to help people quit smoking.

“We don’t know whether the toxics that are contained in the vapor of e-cigarettes is as harmful as tobacco, but we know that that vapor contains known carcinogens,” city attorney Mike Feuer told CBS Los Angeles.

Opponents argued there isn’t enough research to support the restrictions.

"You should have the facts straight and the science right before you regulate e-cigarette use," Ruben Gonzalez, a vice president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Los Angeles Times

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