Los Angeles bans e-cigarettes in public places

LOS ANGELES, March 5, 2014 (AFP) – Los Angeles lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban e-cigarette use in public places where tobacco smoking is prohibited, including work places, restaurants and bars. The LA City Council agreed by 14-0 to outlaw their use in indoor workplaces, outdoor dining areas, parks, recreational areas, beaches, bars and nightclubs where lighting up is banned.

So called “vaping” lounges and stores will be exempted, in line with exceptions made for cigar and hookah lounges where tobacco smoking is allowed, as will using e-cigarettes for “theatrical purposes.”

The battery-powered devices, marketed as aids to quit smoking, allow users to inhale a nicotine-laced vapor, but experts say not enough is known about the effect of chemicals involved, on smokers or those around them.

“Safer does not mean safe,” said the LA County’s public health director Dr. Jonathan Fielding. “Although they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, some e-cigarettes contains some health risks.”

He added that e-cigarettes have grown into a “$1.5 billion industry that has caught the attention of big tobacco which historically has had scant regard for public health.”

LA mayor Eric