A little over a month ago a British Columbia father was shocked to find his 11-year-old son “smoking” an e-cigarette, which the boy had acquired at a local convenience store. In the days that followed, the B.C. man raised the question: should stores be allowed to sell e-cigarettes, which don’t contain tar or nicotine, to kids?
In Los Angeles, the response appears to be a definitive ‘no’. That city is now moving to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and has already restricted the selling of e-cigarettes to minors.
The concern is that e-cigarettes, while not posing any visible health risk, glorify the act of smoking. In theory, this would make it easier for a young person to make the transition to smoking real cigarettes.
But the city of Los Angeles isn’t just concerned about young people using e-cigarettes. City councillors also believe that the vapour produced by these devices could also pose some kind of a public health menace. The problem is that no one has studied the long-term health effects of consuming e-cigarette vapour.
But not all people support the city of Los Angeles in this action. In fact, Charles D. Connor, former president and chief executive officer of the American Lung Association, says it could actually prevent people from quitting smoking.
“This proposal is misguided because it would do a public health disservice, discouraging smokers from switching to less-harmful electronic cigarettes that do not combust tobacco and therefore, do not create second-hand smoke,” Connor said.
The city of Los Angeles’ ban on e-cigarettes applies to public places like parks and restaurants. However, it’s possible exceptions will be made for “adult spaces”, including bars and nightclubs.