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L.A. E-Cigarette Ban Approved

L.A. E-Cigarette Ban Approved
Michael Dorausch/Flickr

Update: See our March 5 report on fallout from the Council vote, including a possible voter referendum.

Added to the bottom: We have a rough calculation of when this law would go into effect.

The L.A. City Council today voted unanimously to place use of e-cigarettes in the same category as cigarettes. That means puffing on so-called "vapes" or vaporizer pens will be banned in clubs and bars, on beaches, in parks, in many office buildings, in markets and restaurants, and even in outdoor dining areas within city limits.

See also: Vapor Lounges Would be Legal Under L.A. E-Cigarette Ban

The vape industry was against the move, of course, saying the jury's still out on any possible harm caused by vaping. Some claim the water vapor from smoking nicotine is harmless and that the devices are priceless to those trying to quit actual cigarettes.

A pair of Columbia University public health professors wrote this in the New York Times recently.

... If e-cigarettes can reduce, even slightly, the blight of six million tobacco-related deaths a year, trying to force them out of sight is counterproductive.

The rule will provide exemptions for vapor lounges and vape-selling stores. A version of the ordinance that sought to provide an exception for bars and clubs was defeated, 6 votes to 8.

The ordinance was introduced by Councilman Mitch O'Farrell and supported by City Attorney Mike Feuer and councilmen Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks.

O'Farrell was particularly concerned about underage people being exposed to both vaporizers and e-cigarette vapor.

See also: E-Cigarette Smoking Could be Banned at L.A. Restaurants, Beaches

[Added at 12:53 p.m.]: The L.A. City Clerk's office tells us that once the mayor signs the ordinance (if he doesn't veto it), then there are 41 days max before it goes into effect. That's if notice of the ordinance is "posted" (literally, on City Hall cork boards).

If the city clerk publishes the notice in a newspaper of record, that time is shortened to 31 days, the office says.

The mayor has 10 days to sign it, but since Eric Garcetti is in Mexico City, council President Herb Wesson is acting mayor and can sign the ordinance immediately. Since he voted for it, we don't see why we wouldn't sign it ASAP.

Bottom line: This thing could go into effect in mid-April at the earliest, the City Clerk's office says.

See also: our March 5 update on fallout from the council's decision

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.