LA Vape Ban

Like New York and Chicago, just yesterday L.A.’s City Council in a 14-0 vote collectively banned e-cigarette use in public places where smoking has already been banned. This ban includes indoor places of work and outdoor locations such as open-air restaurants, parks, and beaches.  Though an amendment was heard to allow vaping in bars and other establishments that are open only to adults 21 and over, the councilmen also voted this out 8-6. However they are still allowing the use of e-cigs in vaping lounges, in e-cigarette retail stores, and on stage for “theatrical purposes”.

During the debate, the lawmakers spoke a lot about their own experiences with tobacco and the dangers that came with it. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell was a hard pusher of the restrictions as he drew from his own unhappy experiences in the early 1990s having to work as a server in restaurants overclouded in a thick haze of cigarette smoke.

Council President Herb Wesson portrayed his decades-long addiction to cigarettes noting to his associates that it will surely kill him one day. Saying he had started only because he wanted to be cool.

“When you’re 15, you want to be cool, and I will not support anything – anything – that might attract one new smoker.”

Their push for the ban and to vote against the amendment was that rationale, the councilmen do not want children to confuse e-cigarettes with analog cigarettes.

The deliberation brought out strong views on both sides of the e-cigarette debate. Supporters of e-cigs depicted the devices as a blessing to individuals looking for an alternative to a habit they haven’t been able to kick. E-cig supporters also pointed out that research hasn’t yet proven that second-hand vapor (emissions) from e-cigs are dangerous.  

Even though the vote for the ban was unanimous, not all the councilmen shared the same views on e-cigs. Councilman Joe Buscaino was the member who introduced the amendment to allow use in public places for adults 21 and over. Saying, “I don’t think they should be regulated exactly the same way,” as he agreed with the e-cigarette community saying that e-cigarettes, “are not tobacco”.

Much like Councilman Buscaino, Charles D. Connor, former president and CEO of the American Lung Association also felt that stigmatizing e-cigarettes so readily may not be a good thing saying, “Such restrictions make sense for traditional tobacco cigarettes…But this proposal is misguided because it would do a public health disservice, discouraging smokers from switching to less-harmful electronic cigarettes that do not combust tobacco and therefore, do not create second-hand smoke.”

 The ordinance will go into effect 30 days after L.A.’s Mayor Eric Garcetti signs it into law. Resident vapers of Los Angeles are getting togther in support of the