The L.A. City Council unanimously voted in favor of banning the use of e-cigarettes in zones where smoking tobaccos is prohibited.
The policy was first discussed by the council last December in order to change the city code to include e-cigarettes in the category of “smoking.” This means that “vaping,” as e-cigarette users call it, will be banned from areas such as public spaces, work environments, and restaurants.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell was the one who introduced the ordinance, and he was supported by councilmen Bernard Parks, Paul Koretz, and City Attorney Mike Feuer. O’Farrell had concerns about young people being surrounded by the vapor from e-cigarettes.
Vapers, of course, were against the policy saying that water vapor is harmless and that those who are trying to quit smoking heavily rely on it to cope with their urges. In the New York Times, Columbia University professors in public health stated that banning e-cigarettes would be counterproductive, as it helps in reducing tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.
The ban exempts vaping lounges and stores that sell e-cigarettes. Another version of the ordinance that excludes bars and clubs from the ban was defeated with a vote of six against eight.
According to the L.A. City Clerk’s office, there is a maximum of 41 days before the policy takes effect, if the ordinance is posted on the corkboards in the City Hall. However, if the new ordinance is published in a newspaper, the time before it takes effect will be lessened to 31 days.
Mayor Eric Garcetti is given 10 days to sign the ordinance, but he is currently in Mexico. Herb Wesson, the council president, has been acting mayor and may immediately sign the new policy. The City Clerk’s office says that the new policy can be in effect as early as the middle of April.
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