A window display with different electronic cigarettes is seen in a shop. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to ban the use of electronic cigarettes, also known as “vaping,” from restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other public spaces in the nation’s second largest city.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed to Reuters that he would sign the measure into law in the coming days.



When he does, Los Angeles will join a growing list of cities, including New York, Boston and Chicago, that restrict the use of e cigarettes, which are battery powered cartridges filled with liquid nicotine that creates an inhalable vapor when heated.

At stake is the future of an industry that some analysts believe will eventually overtake the $80 billion a year tobacco business.

Public health experts fear that vaping, which has recently gained popularity among teens and young adults, may serve as a gateway to smoking for the uninitiated.

Critics also point to potential harm posed from second hand vapor from e cigarettes, saying too little is known about the effects of the chemicals contained in the cartridges.

“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.

The proposal was opposed by the makers of e cigarettes, who pitch their product as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes and say there is no evidence that second hand vape smoke is harmful. Advocates of e cigarettes also say they can help smokers kick the habit.


The Los Angeles ban differs from restrictions in other major cities in that it was amended to allow vaping in lounges and e cigarette stores and for filming or theatrical purposes.

“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.

The City Council action comes as the U.S. government is contemplating further regulations at the national level.

The Food and Drug Administration has already proposed a rule that would bring e cigarettes under its jurisdiction and could potentially require companies to register and pay fees, list the ingredients in their products, obtain approval for new products and restrict online sales and marketing to children.

A law passed in 2009 gave the FDA the authority to regulate cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll your own tobacco.

It also gave the agency the power to deem other tobacco products to be within its jurisdiction, but it must first issue a rule to that effect.

E cigarette companies believe they should be exempt from the full spectrum of regulations, saying that would stifle innovation, damage small business and hurt consumers trying to quit smoking.

Tobacco company Lorillard Inc, the owner of the blu e cigarette brand, is the dominant player in the field, followed by privately held NJOY and LOGIC Technology. The three account for an estimated 80 percent of the market.

E-cigarettes ‘should not be marketed as smoking cessation aids’ – medical news today

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The debate over the benefits and potential harms of e cigarettes has raged on across the media in recent months. Now, research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that there is no association between e cigarette use and reduced cigarette consumption.

Medical News Today recently ran a spotlight feature summarizing the controversies surrounding electronic cigarettes (e cigarettes) the popular cigarette substitutes that are often marketed as a smoking cessation tool.

In that piece, Dr. Maciej L. Goniewicz, from the Roswell Cancer Park Institute in Buffalo, NY, told us

“Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed slight decrease in smoking prevalence among US adults between 2008 and 2011. We do not know whether it can be attributed to increasing popularity of e cigarettes. We need to closely monitor this trend over the next few years to understand effects of e cigarettes on population level.”

Generally, medical professionals have argued that it is too soon to judge whether e cigarettes are an effective tool for helping to quit traditional cigarettes, or whether they actually encourage smoking.

Earlier this month, JAMA Pediatrics also published a study highlighting an association between the use of e cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in American adolescents, which suggested that e cigarettes may contribute to nicotine addiction.

In the new study, researchers surveyed 949 current smokers, asking

  • How many cigarettes the participants smoke each day
  • How long it is until the participants’ first cigarette of the day
  • If and when they intend on quitting smoking
  • Whether the participants had used e cigarettes in the past 30 days.

E cigarette users were not more likely to either successfully quit or want to quit
Although 13.5% of the study sample did quit smoking, very few of the successful quitters used e cigarettes.

From their results, the researchers found that significantly more women, younger adults and people with less education used e cigarettes.

Also, people who used e cigarettes were more likely to smoke their first cigarette less than 30 minutes after waking up. The study also reports that e cigarette users were not more likely to want to quit smoking than non users.

Overall, the researchers found that there was not a significant link between using e cigarettes and quitting smoking. Although 13.5% of the sample did quit smoking, very few of the successful quitters used e cigarettes.

The authors of the study conclude by asserting that

“Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence.”

In a linked comment, Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, deputy editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, writes that “Although there are no data showing that e cigarette use helps with cessation, there is potential harm. In particular, e cigarettes are currently unregulated.”

He continues

“Therefore, the tough restrictions on the sale of tobacco to minors do not exist for e cigarettes. Also, the limitations on where people can smoke do not currently apply to e cigarettes, with the result that the progress on changing social norms through smoking bans may be threatened. Finally, we simply do not know what potential harm e cigarettes may cause to their users.”

Written by David McNamee

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