Sacramento, CA — A state senator has called for electronic cigarettes to be included in California’s ban on smoking in public places like restaurants, buses, and hospitals.
SB140 authored by Democratic San Francisco Sen. Mark Leno has argued that devices that heat liquid nicotine into vapor should be classified as tobacco products. “No tobacco product should be exempt from California’s smoke-free laws simply because it’s sold in a modern or trendy disguise,” said Senator Leno. “Addiction is what’s really being sold. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a cloud of other toxic chemicals, and their use should be restricted equally under state law in order to protect public health.”
E-cigarette use has climbed significantly in recent years, especially among young people, according to Leno, who says they are especially drawn to vaping due to enticing flavors like cotton candy, bubble gum and chocolate. He adds that a Centers for Disease Control study found more than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013, which is a three-fold increase between 2011 and 2013. Currently, the jury is still out on e-cigarettes and safety, but public health advocates are pushing to regulate the industry.
The American Vaping Association has opposed the bill saying it sends the wrong message that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as smoking, instead of a low-risk alternative to smoking.
A similar bill in 2013 failed with strong opposition from the tobacco industry.