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E-cigarettes may soon be regulated the same way as cigarettes in Santa Monica.
E-cigarettes may soon be regulated the same way as cigarettes in Santa Monica.

News, City Council, Health, Santa Monica

E-Cigarettes Could Be Regulated Same As Real Cigarettes In Santa Monica

Posted Jun. 23, 2014, 9:16 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

The act of vaping might soon be no different than smoking under the eyes of the law, as the Santa Monica City Council will be discussing this Tuesday the possibility of an ordinance to regulate e-cigarettes the same way as cigarettes.

Council members will only be discussing a City staff direction next week, but an ordinance could ultimately be in the works to include electronic smoking devices within the legal definition of “smoking.” If such an ordinance were enacted, vaping an e-cigarette would be exactly the same as smoking a regular cigarette. Accordingly, e-cigarettes would be banned everywhere regular cigarettes are not allowed.

City staff recommends the council move forward with a direction to define vaping the same as smoking.

“[The possible ordinance] would restrict the locations where e-cigarettes can be consumed,” City staff stated.

The potential City staff direction comes to the dais about three months after the council directed the City Attorney’s office “to research and analyze the regulation of electronic cigarettes with consideration of recent actions in neighboring cities.”

Just before that direction on March 18, nearby cities of Beverly Hills, Long Beach, and Los Angeles enacted laws expanding the prohibition of smoking to include e-cigarettes.

City staff stated it studied various news reports on the subject and weighed the “underlying scientific studies being cited by both sides in the debate” in determining its recommendation to the council. They also reviewed other e-cigarette ordinances and analyzed arguments against and in favor of regulating vaping as smoking.

An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device with a nicotine cartridge inside. The nicotine is dissolved into a combination of glycol and water, which allows the device to emit a colorless vapor free of tar or other substances generally deemed to be harmful. Accordingly, e-cigarettes have often been considered a less obtrusive alternative to traditional cigarettes.

According to City staff, e-cigarettes were introduced in China in 2003. The product arrived in the United States consumer market in 2008.

“During the past few years their popularity in this country has grown exponentially, especially among young people. For example, between 2011 and 2012 their use among American youth more than doubled according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” City staff stated. “The most common users are those who also smoke cigarettes.”

City staff added the business of advertising and marketing e-cigarettes is rapidly expanding, with ink and air time in favor of the alternative oral fixation making its way into television, radio, online and print advertisements.

“Unlike with cigarettes, there are no restrictions or regulations on e-cigarette advertising. Much of the advertising is directed at children, using social media and celebrities and featuring flavors such as Cotton Candy and Gummi Bear,” City staff stated.

Those who favor e-cigarette use argue the device is an effective tool for those addicted to smoking real cigarettes to chance to quit. E-cigarette proponents also state the devices are safer than regular cigarettes to both the user and anyone in the immediate area.

E-cigarette opponents, however, claim the devices actually allow people to become more, not less, addicted to nicotine, hence increasing the chances he or she will use regular cigarettes. Similarly, opponents state e-cigarettes are popular among teenagers and increase the chances of underage populations taking up the smoking of real cigarettes when the get older.

Another argument against e-cigarettes is that since some of them look so similar to actual cigarettes it becomes increasingly difficult to regulate and enforce anti-smoking laws.

E-cigarette opponents also point out the potential health risks of using the device are not full known, hence the act of vaping should be regulated until more information is made available.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested for the first time a set of proposed rules potentially regulating e-cigarettes as a drug. The proposed rules, according to City staff, would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, prohibit the free distribution of samples, ban e-cigarette vending machines in places where minors are allowed, and require the devices come with warnings that nicotine is addictive.

Advertising regulations and child-oriented marketing restrictions are not included within the FDA’s proposed rules, which is still in a public comment phase.

The sale of e-cigarettes to minors is already prohibited in California, according to City staff.

City staff stated at least 45 cities within California have already taken some form of regulatory action with respect to e-cigarettes. Boston, Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., and five other states currently regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product, City staff added.

Post a comment


Jun. 23, 2014, 12:56:46 pm

Tami said...

I hope they ban e-cigs just the same as regular cigs. You're free to choose which cancer-delivery system you like but the public shouldn't be forced to breathe it. That said, I still smell cigarette smoke all over the promenade so it's tough to regulate such things.

Jun. 23, 2014, 1:42:03 pm

Doug Herrington said...

Tami, that is nonsense. I am not going to go through the list of arguments about why e-cigarettes may prove to be a public heal benefit. You can do your own homework. But to date, there hasn't been a single study that suggests they cause cancer. I haven't smoked a real cigarette in 16 months thanks to the technology. And trust me. I HAVE done my homework.

Jun. 23, 2014, 2:16:48 pm

Jerry Rubin said...

Having to inhale second hand carcinogenic nicotine vapor fumes does not sound like a public health benefit to me!

Jun. 23, 2014, 2:23:45 pm

adrian said...

I agree with Tami. I'd add that we don't know yet if the vapor chemicals could cause cancer or any other ailments. In the meantime, public health demands erring on the side of caution. This doesn't ban the sale of e-cigs (though it wouldn't bother me if that came to pass). I have zero sympathy for the needs of smokers or ex-smokers and e-cigarette users.

Jun. 23, 2014, 2:31:19 pm

Jack Rosenbaum said...

Thank you for the most informative article on the DANGERS associated with the use of of NICOTINE IN ALL FORMS. . .I was involved in the beginning of Smokers Anonomous in 1982 in Santa Monica and the name was later changed to Nicotine Anonymous as the hazards connected with the use of nicotine became universally acknowledged. . .Nic A is a 12 step program that is currently international and there us a 7:15 PM meeting in SM every Thursday night at the church at the NW corner of18th and arizona. . . other meetings are listed on the internet under NicA

Jun. 23, 2014, 2:55:11 pm

Cancer clowns said...

Doug, just because you choose to potentially kill yourself doesn't mean you get to force it on me and my family. Go blow your vapors into your kids face for a year and tell me if you think it's safe.

Jun. 23, 2014, 3:06:07 pm

Bill said...

I quit 44 year smoking habit using an e-liquid device the same day I started vaping. I read the studies first. All the scientific studies show any contaminates emitted are well below the EPA workplace safety thresholds. And they are not of any concern for bystanders. E-cigarette distractors are seeking an unrealistic goal of a nicotine free world. They will let smokers die to attain this goal. We have learned since 1964 that it isn't nicotine that kills or causes disease, its the smoke. 'Nicotine and Health' (2013) by the ACSH. This anti-smoking book is Free Online.

Jun. 23, 2014, 4:29:13 pm

Ben said...

1) Nicotine in not a carcinogen 2) Nicotine is completely OPTIONAL in electronic cigarettes, and dosage can be reduced - it is being shown that smokers are quitting more effectively than any other NRT using electronic cigarettes 3) Regulating electronic cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes at this point in time is potentially damaging to all the smokers who could switch to a less harmful alternative 4) I have never seen a single ad targeted towards children or minors, and as for flavors, adults like candy too - just look at flavored alcohol. I don't hear the uproar about that, nor about the obviously youth oriented tv ads for alcohol... 5) To one of the commenters below - you have obviously never had a family member or loved get sick and die because they were hooked on tobacco and unable to get free of it, otherwise you wouldn't make such stupid and insensitive statements

Jun. 23, 2014, 4:58:14 pm

J said...

Ben, Bill and any of you other Big Tobacco trolls - yes, I'm willing to let you die for your addiction. I didn't force you to start an addiction so don't force it on others who have to share the air. You're just as bad as the gun nuts who only care about their rights and no one else. You deserve the fate of your choosing.

Jun. 23, 2014, 5:50:28 pm

Denise said...

E-cigs save lives, period. Including my own, thank you very much. No carcinogens, no chemicals, the only thing they hurt is tobacco industry profits. Since when did Santa Monica become so puritanical? Educate yourselves.

Jun. 24, 2014, 12:16:15 am

Dennis said...

CASAA is straight out of the GOP

Jun. 24, 2014, 12:17:31 am

LT said...

CASAA is RJ Reynolds Big Tobacco playbook. Denise is a troll. If they can't sell their poison one way, find another way and claim it's healthy.

Jun. 24, 2014, 11:49:53 am

Zac said...

Question1: What about e-cigs that do not contain any nicotine? Question2: What about Cars? They produce huge amounts of carcinogens, and other pollutants, why aren't we working to ban cars in our city? Everyone hates traffic and it would solve both problems in one fell swoop.

Jun. 24, 2014, 2:26:29 pm

Val said...

Zac you can play devils advocate all you want. None of us expects breathe air that's 100% safe in a city. It's about limited the things that are in our control. Addicts don't have to force their air on the public. Just because you're too weak to quit don't make the rest of us suffer.

Jun. 24, 2014, 4:54:44 pm

Vapor trails said...

If it's so safe you'd have no problem with the tobacco companies making fruity flavors and selling it to kids then right?

Jun. 24, 2014, 6:00:35 pm

Bill said...

Val, the emissions from you and I breathing produces more chemical contaminates than an e-cigarette. E-cigarettes are turned off. You and I can't stop breathing. Someone actually studied our exhaled contaminates. You can find the study and Goniewicz e-cigarette emission study below.

Jun. 25, 2014, 5:16:40 pm

They'll say anything for their drugs said...

@Bill - another big tobacco troll - Dr. Maciej L. Goniewicz admits his study only looked for a few of the more than 5,000 potential chemicals in e-cigarettes. His study was also funded by Pfizer, who makes smoking cessation products. These are hardly unbiased studies. The good news is Santa Monica has voted to ban e-cigarettes in public areas.

Jun. 26, 2014, 1:00:14 am

Shar Kanan said...

I was a smoker for 50 years. Not in public and not during work, but still... a bad habit. My kids bought me a vaping kit for my birthday in May. I quit smoking from that day forward. Yes, there is a small amount of nicotine, but no tar, etc and no smoke or smell. It's vapor. A miracle really. I know many who have given up cigarettes for vaping. And with the number of foreigners who visit, it seems it would be a plus to offer this alternative, because most other countries allow smoking. Best, shar

Jun. 26, 2014, 6:32:51 pm

Concerned Parent said...

Ian, Your science is inaccurate and, in fact, highly dangerous and irresponsible. The "juice" that you speak of is so potent it is landing children and adults in Emergency Rooms across the country at an alarmingly increasing rate. Each year as there are more and more e-cigarette users co-relates to the number of people being hospitalized BY SMALL AMOUNTS OF THE "JUICE" SPILLING ON HUMAN SKIN. Some e-cig juice is enough to give an adult a heart attack. These are the facts. Keep in mind how attractive the juices are to children who see/smell flavors of "cotton candy," "gummy bear," and "chocolate." If you or anyone else chooses to inhale these toxic chemicals, so be it--but keep away from the rest of the public who choose life over death.

Jun. 26, 2014, 8:30:21 am

Ian Fenn said...

There are a few folks in these comments that are clearly speaking out of fear, stemming from ignorance. It's usually best to educate one's self before popping off, so an intelligent conversation can be had. Let's lay out the facts... E-liquids, or ‘juice’, only contain four ingredients, some can contain only three. Most companies offer a mixture of nicotine, PG, VG and food flavoring, and e-liquids will come in different ratios. Some companies will offer a straight PG, or VG mix. Liquid Nicotine: Nicotine in e-liquid isn’t derived from tobacco. Its taken from other plants, plants that we all consume every day (tomato, potato, eggplant, and green pepper. Yes, they contain nicotine). No, nicotine is not a carcinogen. Polypropylene Glycol (PG): PG is what helps deliver the flavor in vapor. Opponents of vaping are the first ones to remind you that PG is in anti-freeze. While that may be true, PG is recognized by the FDA as a safe food additive, and is in food that we eat every day. As PG is a preservative that kills bacteria, the water vapor that is exhaled is actually cleaner than what you are breathing in on a daily basis. Vegetable Glycerine: VG is what helps produce a thicker vapor. VG is a carbohydrate derived from plant oils. Again, you consume this every day. Food flavoring: This is obvious… Yes, you eat it every day. Fun fact, The flavoring in tobacco-flavored e-liquid isn't deirived from tobacco either. E-liquids, and the water vapor exhaled from e-liquids, contain no tar, nor any carcinogens. An unlit cigarette, on the other hand, typically contains around 600 chemicals. When it's lit and the chemical reactions start, it contains nearly 4000 chemicals. While I applaud folks that are concerned about air quality, if you are really THAT concerned, you are clearly living in the wrong city. Los Angeles air contains more toxins and heavy metals than any of us should be comfortable with. As for we 'big tobacco trolls', 'J', vaping has absolutely nothing to do with big tobacco. it's not even the same industry. Vaping is not related to, or tied to, tobacco. We vapers hate big tobacco as much as you do.

Jun. 26, 2014, 8:45:07 pm

Ian Fenn said...

Hello, 'Concerned Parent'.My 'science', as you call it, is fact. All of my statements are true, can be substantiated with a simple search on Google. Your statements, on the other hand, I consider suspect. The examples that you cite, are indicative of exposure to pure, 100% liquid nicotine, of which e-liquid is not. I'd love to take a peek at your sources. As for the regulations, I never said that I was against it. I favor it. Personally, I don't vape anywhere where smoking isn't allowed. It should be regulated, and it should be kept away from minors in the same way that tobacco products are. In my experience, it is. As for the flavors... if you think that minors are the only ones that like cotton candy or bubblegum, you need to re-evaluate. If you can find any examples of any vapor bars or e-liquid stores 'marketing towards children', I'd be very surprised. Every vapor shop or vaping website that I've ever visited is gated. 18+. I stand behind my true, factual statements, to the point where I sign off on them with my name. Can you say the same, 'Concerned Parent'?

Jun. 27, 2014, 10:48:00 am

Concerned Parent said...

Hi Ian, You stated, " Let's lay out the facts... E-liquids, or ‘juice’, only contain four ingredients, some can contain only three." What you neglected to include in your "facts" are the other ingredients scientists have found in them that are known to cause respiratory distress and disease. Here are some which are chemicals listed on CA's Proposition 65 list:: Acetaldehyde, Benzene, Cadmium, Formaldehyde, Isoprene, Lead, Nickel, Nicotine,, N-Nitrosonornicotine, Toluene.

Jun. 27, 2014, 10:52:22 am

Concerned Parent, cont. said...

Jul. 28, 2014, 8:01:39 pm

jcdew67 said...

You do realize Tami that Fog Machines use the same ingredients and vapor process as a ecig minus the Nicotine? In that regard I am safe to assume that you nor your children have ever went to a event that had this very "fog"? If they deem ecigs as a tobacco product then any event that has fog would require 18 years or older to be present,sorry kid this haunted house is off limits. Do you also know many vegetables contain Nicotine? This would require 18 and older only to be able to eat veggies.

Jul. 28, 2014, 8:09:29 pm

responsible parent said...

Guns are dangeous and are putting people in Hospitals every day,so are cleaning chemicals,etc. All of these,including eliquid require adult supervision and responsibility. There are many dangerous this that entice kids to try them but it is the adults responsibility to keep them out of reach.

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