Those on the left and right coasts might quibble over who has it better — 75 degrees and sunny all the time or not freaking out when it rains? — but there’s at least one thing Los Angeles and New York City have in common: You won’t be able to suck on an electronic cigarette in public in either place very soon.
L.A.’s City Council voted yesterday to ban the use of e-cigarettes, or “vaping” in public places like restaurants, bars, nightclubs and elsewhere, after mulling over the idea since last year. NYC passed a similar measure in December. E-cigs are also restricted in Chicago and Boston.
It’s now up to Mayor Eric Garcetti to sign the measure into law, which a spokesman confirmed to Reuters that he would do in the next few days.
Critics of e-cigs point to their popularity among teens and adults, saying it could be a gateway to regular smoking. As a result of that concern, Florida is currently mulling banning minors from buying e-cigs in the state.
Others say we don’t know enough about the effects from the chemicals in the cartridges, pointing to the second-hand vapor from e-cigs as potentially harmful to others.
“We have an obligation to protect the workforce from the effects of secondhand aerosol exhaled by people who choose to ‘vape’ on e-cigarettes,” said City Council member Mitch O’Farrell, who co-sponsored the proposal.
“We also have a responsibility to protect our youth and everyone else in public places from the carcinogens found in the ultra-fine particles in e-cigarette aerosol,” he said.
Makers of e-cigarettes opposed the ban, saying it’s safer than smoking regular cigarettes and that there’s no evidence that second-hand vapors are harmful.
“Although we believe the final decision was made in the absence of credible science, it was a more reasonable and sensible approach than the original proposal,” NJOY, the largest independent maker of e-cigarettes, said in a written statement.
“NJOY remains concerned, however, that banning e-cigarette use in public places could deter current tobacco smokers from using the products and thus disserves public health,” the company said.
One difference in L.A.’s ban is that it does allow vaping in lounges, e-cigarette stores and when filming or for theatrical purposes. And no, being dramatic to make a point doesn’t count, so don’t try that.
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