Los Angeles, Long Beach Add E-Cigarettes to Clean Air Laws

March 07, 2014

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This week, the Los Angeles and Long Beach City Councils voted to prohibit use of electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars and other public places and work places where cigarette smoking is also prohibited. San Francisco is considering similar legislation and a vote is anticipated soon.

Los Angeles and Long Beach join a growing list of cities that have added e-cigarettes to clean air laws, including New York and Chicago.

Adding e-cigarettes furthers the fundamental purposes of these laws: To protect everyone’s right to breathe clean, healthy air in workplaces and public places. E-cigarettes should be included for several reasons:

  • E-cigarettes currently are not regulated, manufacturers are not required to disclose what is in them or in their emissions and there are important gaps in our knowledge of their impact on the health of users and non-users. Nicotine and other toxic substances have been found in exhaled e-cigarette vapor. Given the concerns about the health impact of e-cigarettes, it makes sense to prevent exposure by non-users in workplaces and public places.

  • Including e-cigarettes in current smoke-free air laws will simplify enforcement of the law and avoid confusion about where smoking is and isn’t allowed. Businesses and city officials will not have to distinguish between e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes.

  • Smoke-free laws create an environment that encourages smokers to quit and discourages kids from smoking. Including e-cigs will preserve these benefits.

Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York City and Chicago have taken important steps to protect public health.  Other cities and states should follow their lead.