Last year in March of 2014, Los Angeles banned indoor vaping of e-cigs treating the devices the same as cigarettes. The ban, which went into effect in April of last year, prohibits indoor vaping in such locations as nightclubs, restaurants, and any other indoor public location.
However, as to be expected the ban didn’t go quietly into place. In fact, many club owners throughout the city held large vaping parties on the last night prior to the ban taking effect. Customers were obviously not happy about the ban since they would be forced to vape outside with smokers. The treatment of e-cigs as the same as cigarettes could even possibly drive some people back to smoking cigarettes altogether, making it hard to quit smoking cigarettes.
Of course, the ban came after months of debate over whether or not e-cigs should be placed on the naughty list. LA Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell and Paul Koretz encouraged the ban and subsequent analysis of the cigarette substitute early last year and prompted the debates.
After the push for the ban began, CLF Gerry F. Miller released a report that recommended e-cigs be treated the same as traditional cigarettes. The report was then used as the basis for a proposal to the LA City Council where the committee agreed unanimously to enforce the ban and treatment of e-cigs as tobacco based products.
One councilman even said “For anyone to say that e-cigarettes are not harmful, I think they are taking us down the same path that the tobacco industry said in 1954 that cigarettes were not harmful.”
However, the ban was not without protest. Mark Burton, who was against the ban, cited a study conducted by Drexel University that showed the contamination of e-cig vapor was far below that which is considered to be harmful.
Despite the debate, the motion passed and continues to be a point of contention between the council men and the citizens of LA. The ruling comes on the heels of many other similar such legislations passed in cities such as New York and even Chicago. Interestingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates tobacco and does not regulate recreational e-cigs. The evidence regarding e-cigs is simply too little to base any type of federal legislation on, and the government therefore is opting out of the debate for the time being.
One of the LA council members, Paul Krekorian, noted that he is perplexed by the ruling and how to move forward in a swift yet balanced manner. He stated, “I’m struggling with this because I want to make sure we are solving a problem based on actual facts and justification.” Obviously, the results simply do not provide enough evidence one way or another, in the eyes of the councilmen, to continue to allow e-cigs in public places. The risks of second hand vapor, they feel, are simply too great at this point in time to allow the practice to continue.
Time will tell how the law takes effect and how it will subsequently play out with the residents in Los Angeles.