Los Angeles becomes the latest city to ban e-cigarettes

Just like actual cigarettes, the electronic counterpart has been banned from restaurants, bars and parks

Published March 5, 2014 2:23PM (EST)

Los Angeles has joined the ranks of New York and Chicago in passing a measure to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes.  The Los Angeles law would ban "vaping" in public spaces such as restaurants, parks and clubs.  The city has already passed a measure prohibiting those under 18 from purchasing vaporizing devices.

This new measure was passed yesterday by the Los Angeles City Council, and should Mayor Eric Garcetti sign it, it will go into effect in 30 days.  Despite being voted on unanimously by the council, there is still debate on whether prohibiting e-cigarettes will do more good than harm.  Some worry that if the supposedly less harmful e-version is held up to the same regulations as the actual death-sticks, people will opt to smoke combustible tobacco (i.e., cigarettes).

Proponents of outlawing "vaping" in public see e-cigarettes as a gateway for kids to start smoking -- a legitimate concern.  A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September of last year found that between 2011 and 2012  e-cigarette use doubled by middle school and high schools students.  The report stated that "78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e-cigarettes," and that "76.3 percent of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period."

In terms of secondhand vapor, according to the Verge, the product has not been around long enough for public health officials to understand long-term effects. E-cigarettes in Los Angeles would still be allowed in "vaping" lounges and stores.

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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