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The City of Santa Monica is taking steps that could lead to the regulation of e-cigarettes.
The City of Santa Monica is taking steps that could lead to the regulation of e-cigarettes.

News, City Council, Health, Santa Monica

Santa Monica To Look Into E-Cigarette Regulations

Posted Mar. 21, 2014, 8:07 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

There was a time when smoking tobacco was considered cool. Over time, cigarette smoking has become heavily regulated and has formed a social stigma in California and other regions in the United States.

However, in recent years, an alternative and apparently viable option made itself available for those either yearning to have or gradually diminish an oral fixation: e-cigarettes.

Colloquially known as “vaping,” the uses of e-cigarettes have mostly been legal until very recently. Cities such as Long Beach and Los Angeles have recently taken steps to regulate e-cigarettes within their respective city limits. Similarly moves have been made in Chicago and New York City.

The next city on deck to potentially regulate e-cigarettes: Santa Monica.

Council member Bob Holbrook opened a discussion of potential e-cigarette regulation in Santa Monica. The council unanimously voted on Tuesday to direct staff “to research and analyze” e-cigarette regulation and potentially follow in the footsteps of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

“It’s no secret there has been concern about electronic [smoking] devices that imitate cigarettes. I’m really concerned these are precursors to the smoking habit,” Holbrook told his colleagues.

Holbrook initially moved to have City staff return to the dais with a proposed ordinance regulating e-cigarettes. However, Council members Kevin McKeown and Ted Winterer backed an alternate motion directing City staff research the issue first and report back with options.

The motion did include a sense of urgency, as council members directed City staff to return back with a report on facts and potential options as expeditiously as possible.

“The exercise of municipal police power to control individual behavior must be founded on facts,” McKeown stated. “There is medical research on both sides of this issue. I would like the chance to look at that research … and come up with an ordinance that protects people where necessary but doesn’t impinge upon individuals beyond what the science tells us is reasonable to do.”

During public testimony, resident Ian James Johnson said he was sickened by e-cigarette regulations that has been proposed or already enacted.

“This is really sickening the way this is going around the country. There is absolutely no scientific … evidence to show there is damage being done by this, particularly the second-hand users,” Johnson told the council. “We all have the right to put things in our body that aren’t good for us. If you spend the money on education as opposed to telling people what to do, they will make the right choices.”

Resident Kevin Kleiman said he hoped the council and City staff would properly research the pros and cons of e-cigarettes before regulating the devices.

“There really hasn’t been any major study to show what these things can or cannot do,” Kleiman told the council.

Still, e-cigarette regulation has been a hot topic locally, nationally, and internationally.

In April 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would regulate e-cigarettes the same traditional tobacco products.

A federal court in Washington, D.C., ruled in 2010 e-cigarettes could be regulated as a tobacco product instead of a drug-delivery device, which are subject to stricter regulations.

According to the FDA, tobacco products cannot be marketed “in combination with any other article or product regulated under the [Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act], including a drug, biologic, food, cosmetic, medical device, or a dietary supplement.”

However, according to Business Week, the FDA has yet to follow through with its promise to regulate e-cigarettes.

The reported lack of action by the FDA has not prevented cities such as Los Angeles from banning e-cigarette use in public places within its borders.

Beverly Hills and San Francisco are also considering e-cigarette regulations, according to news reports; Chicago and New York already regulate e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes.

Cities are not the only governmental entities moving on e-cigarette regulation. The Iowa state legislature reportedly has a bill on the floor making it illegal for stores statewide to sell e-cigarettes and other nicotine-related products to anyone under the age of 18.

Internationally, the European Parliament, which governs the European Union, reportedly passed a ban on e-cigarette advertisements and approved childproof packaging. The new regulations reportedly approved in late February also limited the amount of nicotine content allowable within each e-cigarette device.

An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device with a nicotine cartridge inside. The nicotine is dissolved into a combination of glycol and water, which allows the device to emit a colorless vapor free of tar or other substances generally deemed to be harmful. Accordingly, e-cigarettes have often been considered a less obtrusive alternative to traditional cigarettes.

A key element of the e-cigarette debate is whether use of the device translates into increased use of traditional cigarettes or if it helps cigarette smokers quit the oral habit altogether.

Council member Gleam Davis was not present at the March 18 council meeting.

Post a comment


Mar. 21, 2014, 10:53:03 am

Jerry Rubin said...

E- cigarettes should be be restricted in certain areas, just as regular cigarettes are. I certainly don't want to have to inhale second hand nicotine vapor!

Mar. 21, 2014, 11:00:04 am

Norm Bour said...

As an industry adviser to the Vape Industry, I believe Santa Monica can turn around the "copy-cat" mentality that many cities are following. There is no tobaco, ie, no tobacco with e-cigs and no smell. Scientific studies have validated the vapor as being harmless and I have spoken with many city council members and mayors and understand their fears, though unjustified. Santa Monica, let's stand up for fairness and equality. Those is the Vape community BELIVE in regulation, NOT restriction.

Mar. 21, 2014, 11:51:49 am

Bill said...

For some reason, the American Lung Assoc. along with help from the FDA is passing around a lot of F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.) E-liquids are made from three ingredients, glycerin, propylene glycol and may or may not contain nicotine. The science behind the ingredients in e-cigarettes has been studied since 1946. Glycerin and propylene glycol were re-certified as GRAS for inhalation and ingestion by the FDA in 1987. Nicotine is not the poison we were lead to believe during the anti-tobacco crusades. It appears the LD50 is not 50-60mg/kg body weight, but 500-1000mg/kg body weight. All the information is available on the United States National Library of Medicine website. search the individual ingredients or just search e-cigarette depending how in-depth you wish to go.. Smoking is dieing. The e-cigarette is killing it.

Mar. 21, 2014, 2:06:53 pm

Robert Copia said...

At age 62, I have been a smoker since 6th grade. It was a part of our culture. Since my aunt’s passing in 2003, due to lung cancer caused by her smoking, I tried hard to quit. Nicotine gum helped me cut down but any kind of stress and I was back to compulsive smoking. I took the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN for two days. It made me feel very strange. Three and one half years ago, I used my first e-cig and I have been tobacco free ever since. My health has improved drastically. No coughing, The shortness of breath when climbing stairs is 90% gone. I still use the ecig and have no desire to use tobacco. I am considering going into the ecig business and I have started reading the ecig news. Banning, crackdowns, fears ,concerns, questions, gateway, fears, harming children is all that I read.. Hysteria over a “personal nicotine vaporizer”??? A small lithium battery,( lithium batteries power cellphones, laptop computers, pacemakers equipment on jet airliners etc.,) heats an element that turns nicotine liquid ( consisting of nicotine the same as in the nicotine gum paid for by Medicare and Medicaid, and food grade flavorings, in a base of propylene glycol which is rated GRAS, generally regarded as safe) in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, section 184-1666, and is found in many food products, asthma inhalers, the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN, toothpaste etc,) into vapor like your tea kettle. I was awakened by the Bloomberg, 2/19/2014, article, “ GLAXO Memo Shows Drug Industry Lobbying on E-Cigarettes”. Glaxo-Smith Kline is the 4th largest Pharma company and it sells nicotine gum, lozenges, patches inhalers and the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN which I learned was actually the mind-altering psychiatric drug Wellbutrin. I then went on to read the Forbes 7/2/2012, article, “Feds Say Dr. Drew Was Paid by GLAXO TO Talk Up Antidepressant” Forbes in included a link to the 72 page Justice Department complaint against GLAXO which involved the illegal, deceptive and fraudulent marketing of antidepressants to children and adolescents. through their Doctors. New York Times 7?2/2012, GLAXO Agrees To Pay THREE BILLION Fraud Settlement ( and pleads guilty to criminal charges). after a ten year investigation started by “whistle blowers”. The New York Times, 12/14/2013, “The Selling of ADHD,( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) documents the depths that Pharma will go to sell their drugs to children and adolescents through their Doctors.. I once considered myself well-informed but until reading this material, I had no idea of the actions of BIG PHARMA, which I consider the “Crime of the Century” I encourage you to read this material. It is conceivable that the ecig could make nicotine gum, patches inhalers etc. and the mind altering psychiatric anti-smoking drugs (GLAXO is working on a new one GSK598809) obsolete, or at minimum reduce the sales. Big Pharma and the politicians that do their bidding agree that this cannot be allowed. Who is harmed by this? Those who are near hopelessly addicted to cigarettes and the thousands of dangerous chemicals they contain. This propaganda campaign by Big Pharma and the politicians that they control is simply meant to scare people especially the elderly and dissuade them from trying a “personal nicotine vaporizer” Take the anti-smoking drugs?? Read the black box warnings. Would you recommend them to your mother?

Mar. 21, 2014, 4:04:33 pm

Parent said...

What we DO know about e-cigarettes: they contain nicotine which is dangerous to the teenage brain. Research has shown that nicotine can rewire the brain for addiction even at low doses. The tobacco industry's latest tactic to hook life-long addicts is to target children/teens. E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors including cotton candy, chocolate, and gummy bear. It's no surprise to hear that the number of teens "vaping" DOUBLED in the short span of a year from 2011 to 2012. This is why they need to be included in the existing cigarette ordinances and kept away from schools.

Mar. 21, 2014, 4:20:59 pm

Jason H said...

Why is this being done? I am an advocate of banning cigarette smoke in public places because it forces others to unnecessarily breathe the uncontrollable movement of smoke. That said why are we considering this? The way i see it E-cigs are a perfect solution to the problem of secondhand smoke. This is another example of mission creep where a reasonable law is now drifting into a control mechanism and reduced individual rights.

Mar. 22, 2014, 1:32:49 am

Patrick Potter said...

E-cigrattes are an elusive and potentially difficult issue to really assault. It is incorrect that all e-cigs contain nicotine. They don't. Matter of fact they come in two different types those that contain limited milligrams of flavored nicotine and others that do not contain nicotine at all. The reason they were invented were to allow smokers the opportunity to smoke (a civil liberty since the dawn of fire) without being offensive to others and without subjecting other to harmful carcinogens which occurs when some something burns. E-cigs don't burn, they vaporize. Two completely different things. But what City Council should be trying to ban is the use of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) from products being sold in Santa Monica, now there is a platform worth pissing people off about.

Mar. 22, 2014, 10:24:15 pm

Tracey Verhoeven said...

Being a rabid anti smoker, I am completely irritated that ecigs are looking to be banned. BAN REAL CIGARETTES! I live on Ocean Front Walk and all I smell are disgusting cigarettes and see their butts everywhere! Rather than over zealously giving out parking tickets, why doesn't Santa Monica ticket every smoker? If people have to smoke, set up ecig shopping carts where to smoke they have to buy one of those. Smoking is so unnecessary and I am shocked it is still even legal. Get rid of it and let the addicts have their ecigs.

Mar. 23, 2014, 2:16:01 am

Loss Of Freedoms said...

This is just another example of us losing freedoms without the govt. doing it's due diligence in research before regulation. Though SM hasn't taken the steps that LA and other cities have, the fact that those cities did so without any hard evidence of any negative affects from e-cigs shows that they are quick to act against them. Why? Well the truth is, because those who are trying to have them banned are the being backed by the Tobacco industry. E-ciggs have put a very little dent into the tobacco industry, but they do see it's potential to harm their bottom line in future earnings. Any politician that is quick to regulate against e-ciggs, you can be sure is getting valuable campaign support by the Tobacco industry and their lobbyists. It has been proven that "vaping" not only curtails to smoke cigarettes, I know of about 7-10 people that have quit smoking cigarettes completely with the help of e-ciggs. They also have nicely scented vapor and don't leave a nasty taste or smell as a by-product. Support your freedoms to choose what and where you can "vape", write or email your council members!

Mar. 23, 2014, 2:08:10 pm

martin marteen said...

Surprisingly, comments seem to be overwhelmingly against regulating e-cigs. 1. we need to look at the scientific evidence and not at unfounded hypochondriacal views about smoking. Some people think that a whiff of second hand smoke is a death sentence, but think nothing of driving in, or living in, or walking in polluted air in traffic that have far more carcinogens. UCLA showed that kids living within miles of the 405 have greater chance of developing malignancies and do so. 2. We should be careful not to infringe on individual rights without overwhelming evidence that those individuals'behavior negatively impacts others. 3. Outlawing sales to kids is reasonable, but what has happened to parental supervision and responsibility that they pass that on to the state to regulate. Kids will do things in spite of regulation unless we watch them and advise them and love them. 4. I come from a family of heavy smokers, all the family. Yet I nor any of my siblings ever smoked. Personal responsibility has a big place . Today we tend not to blame the individual for their personal decisions, and attributing fault to every one else, or government, or the schools, or some silly reason or factor and exonerating the individual of blame. We make celebrities of those individuals. Rodney King becomes a hero for having bad behavior and being beaten. We are unable to separate the abhorrent behavior of the cops from that of the initiator of the activities. 5. Governmental intrusion into our lives is far greater hazard than e-cigs will ever be. 6. we can not allow the over zealous vociferous individuals in our society to dictate behavior. What is next.? 7. As to those who smoke or drink, or live in polluted areas, or drive SUV's, or are overweight, or consume too much in our over indulgent and wealthy society, there is a solution. Risk based health insurance , so those who takes risks pay higher premiums to cover their care. You would not need mandatory health care coverage if you let the market place regulate and easily. You can not get care in any hospital or Emergency room unless you show financial responsibility. it will cure everyone's myopia and attenuate risk taking. Get sick, no health insurance , go to the L.A County hospital.

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