Bill Would Ban E-Cigarettes in Public Spaces, Increase Penalties
The California Legislature is considering a bill (SB 140) that would put restrictions on electronic cigarettes that are in line with current rules about other tobacco products, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports.
Details of SB 140
The bill, by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), is intended to extend workplace smoking bans to e-cigarettes.
Leno said, "No tobacco product should be exempt from California's smoke-free laws simply because it's sold in a modern or trendy disguise" (McGreevy, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
In addition to banning the use of e-cigarettes in public places, such as restaurants and bars, the legislation would increase penalties for selling e-cigarettes to minors.
According to Reuters, if California passes the bill, it would be the fourth state to regulate e-cigarettes in the same was as traditional cigarettes.
The bill is sponsored by the:
- American Cancer Society;
- American Heart Association; and
- American Lung Association.
The bill drew opposition from the American Vaping Association, which said it would be harmful to smokers who switch to e-cigarettes in an effort to quit using tobacco, noting that the electronic devices have been marketed as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes.
AVA President Gregory Conley said, "California smokers deserve truthful information about smoke-free alternatives, not hype and conjecture designed to scare them away from attempting to quit with these innovative technology products."
However, Leno said that the vapor from e-cigarettes contains carcinogens and that nicotine in the devices still is addictive. He added, "Whether you get people hooked on e-cigarettes or regular cigarettes, it's nicotine addiction and it kills" (Bernstein, Reuters, 1/26).
On Tuesday, KQED's "Forum" reported on SB 140 (Krasny, "Forum," KQED, 1/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.