Los Angeles to ban e-cigarettes in buildings and public places

5 Mar 2014

The Los Angeles City Council has taken the decision to ban e-cigarettes in all public places in the city, including bars, restaurants and public parks.

E-cigarettes have gained considerable popularity in recent years because of the advertised health benefits. Electronic cigarettes let the user inhale a nicotine-infused water vapour which, when exhaled, is less harmless to the smoker and to the people around them, known as ‘vaping’.

However, the city council has decided that their growing use could potentially encourage more adults to pick up tobacco smoking once again.

Highlighted in the LA Times, councilwoman Nury Martinez questioned the advertised health benefits of the devices.

“We have a right to … choose to breathe clean air and if this device turns out to be safe, then we can always undo the ordinance. But if this device proves not to be safe, we cannot undo the harm this will create on the public health.”

Ireland is one of the many nations to have moved on to the devices and recent estimates put user numbers at 50,000 smokers, about 6-7pc of the total smoking population.

Only recently, Minister for Health James Reilly, TD, announced that the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s will only now be considered illegal, an initiative the UK has recently introduced.

Five states in the US have come to the same conclusion as Los Angeles but there has been no confirmation on whether e-cigarette smoking will see the same ban that came into force with its tobacco cousin in 2004.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic