Hold onto to your e-cigarettes while you can, people, because using them might soon be banned in the same places that prohibit lighting up regular smokes.
The L.A. City Council today will consider a new motion to be introduced by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell that would treat electronic devices the same way that cigarette smoking is regulated in town.
And means no puffing, electronic or otherwise, in or on:
-city beaches, or
-within 25 feet of playground equipment, bleachers, backstops, sports courts and fields, and picnic areas.
Yep. O'Farrell's spokesman, Tony Arranaga, confirmed to the Weekly the gist of today's proposal.
According to a statement put out by the offices of O'Farrell and the City Attorney:
The motion directs the City Attorney's office to draft an ordinance to regulate the usage of electronic smoking devices where smoking is prohibited by law.
But wait, there's more:
The council today will also weigh Councilman Paul Koretz's motion to raise the age limit on e-cigarette purchases to those 18 or older. As it stands, electronic tobacco retailing has no age limit for customers.
There have also been efforts on the state level to treat the battery-operated "vapes" (for nicotine vaporizers or atomizers) the same as regular cigs.
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Proponents of e-cigarettes have been enjoying loopholes in the law, often smoking at bars and restaurants without reprisal. They argue that the water vapor emitted by the devices is not smoke and that it is not harmful.
However, some critics say that scientific testing has yet to catch up with the devices. The jury is still out about whether they are the source of second-hand smoke danger.
[Update at 1:49 p.m.]: The City Council voted unanimously in favor of both measures, which means e-cigarettes will soon be treated as regular cigarettes in terms of where you can use them and in terms of who can buy them.