Santa Monica has joined cities like Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Long Beach in banning e-cigarettes from all locations regular cigarettes are not allowed–including clubs, bars, restaurants, etc. –, following a unanimous vote by the Santa Monica City Council on Wednesday evening.
The new ordinance expands the definition of cigarettes to include e-cigarettes, but allows exceptions for vapor shops which rely heavily on this allowance in order to operate, according to NBC in Los Angeles. Recently-passed legislation in Los Angeles has similarly left room for vapor shops to conduct business, a point which one local drew attention to before the vote took place.
“You’re talking about 15 blocks that way, where basically people who go 15 blocks down that way will be able to enjoy all of the amenities provided to them by vapor lounges and we’re going to be here as a sitting duck, basically, with nothing to offer our consumers,” said vapor shop owner Omar Abaza.
E-cig proponents tout the device as being both safer than cigarettes and also a helpful aid and tool to individuals who are addicted to smoking; they posit that it could provide them with a chance to wean off of cigarettes and help them quit.
However, a report from the Associated Press notes that there is not a great deal of scientific evidence showing they actually help smokers quit or smoke less. It is also unclear how safe they are. This deemed by a report released by the FDA in April when they introduced their first set of regulations for e-cigarettes, banning its sale to minors and attempting to tame the rapidly-growing industry.