The L.A. City Council is expected vote Tuesday on a proposal to treat e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes and prohibit them in nearly every workplace and many outdoor spaces.
Lobbyists for the e-cigarette industry have been pushing back, and want to secure exemptions for establishments where “vaping” -- taking a drag of flavored nicotine vapor from an e-cigarette -- is increasingly popular.
Backers of the battery-powered e-cigarettes portray them as a godsend for those looking to quit conventional smoking. They say research has not yet proven that the second-hand emissions are harmful to others.
City officials proposed the ordinance after Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said e-cigarettes threatened to make smoking socially acceptable after years of public opinion campaigns to discourage the habit.
Young people who get hooked on the nicotine in e-cigarettes may then turn to tobacco use, he said.
“We don’t want to risk e-cigarettes undermining a half century of successful tobacco control,” he said.
The ordinance would ban the use of e-cigarettes in most workplaces as well as parks, on city beaches, in restaurant outdoor dining areas and at city-sponsored farmers markets.
One exception to the proposed e-cigarettes ban would be “vaping lounges,” businesses that allow customers to try various e-cigarette liquids. Those liquids, which typically include nicotine and flavorings, are heated in an e-cigarette until they vaporize and can be inhaled.