Santa Monica, once a bastion of liberal freedoms, has formally banned e-cigarette use in outdoor dining areas, in parks, at beaches, around libraries, and at the city's famed pier.
Santa Monica even banned vaping near ATMs, at bus stops, and "within 20 feet of the entrance, exit or open window of any building open to the public," according to a city statement released yesterday.
The City Council recently took a second and final vote on the matter. The ban goes into effect ...
... Nov. 13.
The vaping prohibition parallels the city's notoriously strict no-smoking rules, which also cover, according to a city statement, ...
... all new occupancies of apartments and condos since November 22, 2012; all designated non-smoking units; and all multi-unit common areas.
The ordinance says flat-out that you can't even get your vape on at so-called vape lounges, but it provided exceptions for the only two such businesses in town: Fix Vapor and Vapor Delight.
The law also requires sellers to get a city license, "as tobacco retailers are already required to do," according to the statement:
The proceeds of this license fee are used to fund undercover operations to assure that minors are not being sold tobacco products.
The e-cigarette industry has argued that such bans are premature because the effects of secondhand vapor haven't proven to be a danger.
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In fact, they argue, vaping is a healthy alternative for those who want to wean themselves off carcinogenic cigarettes. They claim that e-cigarettes are safer because they don't burn tobacco and produce smoke that can coat your longs and lead to long-term health problems.
Some bars and restaurants also liked e-cigarettes because they kept customers inside at a time when smoking bans pushed them outdoors.
Unfortunately for them, the city of L.A. banned vaping in bars, restaurants and clubs, not to mention at beaches and parks, in March.