The Santa Monica City Council last week adopted a new law that treats electronic smoking devices, or e-cigarettes, the same as traditional cigarettes under its smoke-free laws.
The new law goes into effect on Nov. 13, 2014.
This means that “vaping” will no longer be allowed anywhere that cigarettes are banned. These places include:
— Third Street Promenade
— Santa Monica Pier
— Public parks
— Public beaches
— Library grounds
— Within 20 feet of the entrance, exit or open window of any building open to the public
— All outdoor dining areas
— All designated waiting areas such as bus stops and ATM lines
E-cigarettes will also be banned in residential places where smoking is already prohibited.
This includes all new occupancies of apartments and condos since Nov. 22, 2012; all designated non-smoking units; and all multi-unit common areas.
E-cigarettes deliver a nicotine-containing aerosol or “vapor” to users by heating a liquid chemical solution. The chemicals typically include propylene glycol or glycerin, nicotine, and flavored chemicals.
The City gave multiple reasons for regulating e-cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes, including:
— They get people addicted to nicotine and may lead to cigarette use;
— They are popular among teens and growing in popularity;
— They are visually similar to cigarettes, making it harder to enforce no-smoking laws;
— They are marketed to children;
— They emit hazardous chemicals; and
— They pose many still-unknown potential health risks.
The new law also requires sellers of e-cigarettes to obtain a City license, as tobacco retailers are already required to do.
The proceeds of this license fee are used to fund undercover operations to assure that minors are not being sold tobacco products.
Vaping will also be prohibited inside all businesses, including so-called vape shops or vaping lounges.
The two currently licensed vape shops in Santa Monica are exempted from this rule: Fix Vapor and Vapor Delight.