In a 5-0 vote Monday, the Pittsburg City Council moved to ban the use of e-cigarettes and other types of smoking devices to its public smoking ban.
The City has an Ordinance since the mid-1990’s pertaining to Smoking in Public, but it failed to address the e-cigarettes. The Councils action last night includes e-cigarettes in the city’s definition of smoking and regulates the use of the device in public areas.
According to the Staff Report, there is no government or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight of these products and so therefore, there is no way for the public health, medical community or consumers to know what chemicals are contained in e-cigarettes or what the short and long term health implications might be.
Pittsburg Councilwoman Nancy Parent explained she was in favor of the ordinance based on young kids using e-cigarettes.
“We do not need to have young people thinking it’s cool or whatever word they use now that smoking or imitation smoking is a good thing to do,” said Parent.
Unlike the Oakley City Council meeting last week on a similar ban where self-proclaimed national leading advocates for e-cigarettes as well as the California Vapor Association showed up to opposed a ban, Pittsburg received no opposition on the ban and according to Nancy Parent, over the last week received many letters and emails in support of the ban.
Councilman Ben Johnson explained how San Ramon made some changes to their ordinance and became really strict and shared how his son quit smoking.
“I really think this law is important for more people,” said Johnson.
During the meeting, Jeff Bell from the county’s Tobacco Prevention Commission explained that there was no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes weed people away from smoking, but that its self-reported which is different than scientific data.
With the council’s action Monday, the item will be considered for adoption at the July 21, 2014 meeting making Pittsburg the 5th City in the County behind Concord, Richmond, Walnut Creek and Oakley.
Staff Report – Reasons to consider amending the City’s Ordinance include:
- Concern about second-hand and third-hand health effects from the vapors;
- Concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and places of employment which complicates efforts to enforce and comply with smoke-free regulations;
- Concern that acceptance of e-cigarettes may increase the social acceptability of smoking, particularly among minors and youth.
- It is possible that local regulations, in the future, may not be necessary, but there are no regulations to date and minimal science upon which to make health-based decisions.
- Several states have passed laws to regulate/prohibit e-cigarettes in certain locations (Maryland, Oregon). Cities have banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places, including New York City, Chicago and, most recently, Los Angeles (March 4, 2014). Other California cities have passed bans on e-cigarettes, (Richmond, Carlsbad, Long Beach, Walnut Creek) as well as counties (Santa Clara, San Bernardino) including Contra Costa County.