Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SM Considers Ban on E-Cigarettes

Determined not to be left behind in a progressive movement, Santa Monica city officials, like those of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills before them, are considering a ban of electronic cigarettes.

On Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council will decide whether to amend its smoking ordinance to regulate e-cigarettes in the same manner as traditional cigarettes, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

After L.A. and Beverly Hills adopted their public bans in March, Santa Monica City Hall took up a study of the battery-powered vaporizers. Marketed as a way to kick the tobacco habit, the devices are a nicotine delivery system that operate without smoke.

City Hall's report, presented to the councilmembers, recommends following the trend and treating e-cigarettes just like a pack of unfiltered Camels. The research reportedly questions the marketers claim that "vaping" helps smokers quit the habit. It also raises the possibility that the devices might pose a health risk themselves, pointing to a study indicating the danger of secondhand nicotine.

And then there's the gateway argument, that smokers of other substances have heard time and time again. The city's research cited studies that show that the e-cigs are being marketed to children using flavors like cotton candy and gummy bears. You read that right -- cotton candy- and gummy bear-flavored.

If the city adopts the traditional cigarettes model, it "would effectively prohibit the use of the devices in all locations where cigarette smoking currently is prohibited," according to city officials.

"It would also require businesses that sell e-cigarettes to comply with the City's Tobacco Retailer Licensing law. ... Staff does not recommend creating a separate exemption from the indoor workplace smoking law for vaping lounges."

There are currently two licensed vaping establishments in Santa Monica, and, as of now, nothing prohibiting the smoking of e-cigarettes inside bars and restaurants.


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