By Mina Kim and Lisa Pickoff-White

Julia Boyle enjoys an electronic cigarette at the Vapor Shark store. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images))
Julia Boyle enjoys an electronic cigarette at the Vapor Shark store. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images))

Update March 19: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to treat electronic cigarettes as regular cigarettes, effectively banning them at bars, restaurants and businesses. Sellers will also have to secure a special permit, and e-cigarettes can’t be sold at pharmacies and other businesses where tobacco sales are banned.

Original story: A committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors debated on Thursday afternoon (March 7) whether to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes to areas where smoking tobacco is allowed. Supporters and opponents packed the room.

“The VA Medical Center recommended I try e-cigarettes to stop smoking,” Michael Barger said during public comments. “Within three weeks I stopped, and now this is my vaporizer.”

Several other cities around the country already have restricted e-cigarettes, the battery-powered devices that heat up liquid nicotine so that the vapor can be inhaled. On Tuesday, Los Angeles City Council members placed “vaping” in the same category as tobacco smoking. Long Beach then passed a stricter ordinance, also banning shops and “vaping” lounges. Richmond passed a ban in December. Some states also are considering regulations, and a U.S. Senate bill introduced last month would curb electronic cigarette marketing while the fast-growing industry awaits regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.

Thursday’s hearing coincided with the release of a UC San Francisco study that found teens who try e-cigarettes are more likely to try cigarettes as well.

“We found that e-cigarettes were associated with more, not less, cigarette smoking among adolescents,” said lead author Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “E-cigarettes are likely to be gateway devices for nicotine addiction among youth, opening up a whole new market for tobacco.”

The study analyzed responses from U.S. middle and high school students to the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The study didn’t examine whether youths initiated smoking with conventional cigarettes or e-cigarettes. But the authors noted that about 20 percent of middle school students and about 7 percent of high school students who had ever used e-cigarettes had never smoked regular cigarettes, which indicates that some kids are introduced to the addictive drug nicotine through e-cigarettes, the authors said.

“I can’t tell you, for example, that e-cigarettes cause smoking among adolescents,” Dutra said. “But what we saw is among e-cig users, they were more likely to be cigarette smokers. Those who use e-cigs and conventional tobacco cigs were less likely to quit smoking, even though they reported being more likely to be planning to quit in the next year. They were also more likely to be heavier smokers.”

The legislation could be considered by the full board on Tuesday.

The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

San Francisco Approves E-Cigarette Regulations 19 March,2014KQED News Staff and Wires

  • JugsPutin

    Ok, ok. Hold your horses, chumps.

    Nowhere in this article does it mention anything about vaporized nicotine or whatever comes out of E-Cigarettes to be harmful in the same way that second-hand smoke is harmful to bystanders.

    So why are we trying to restrict the usage?

    Oh, because we have to think of the children. Because we can’t parent adolescents out of trying fun, addictive substances. Because in our effort to create some utopian future where NO ONE smokes, ever, for any reason, we have completely forgotten why it is that people do these kinds of things.

    Or maybe this is all about marijuana. And how it’s very hard to distinguish what exactly people are smoking out of one of these.

    Let me just recap: we are about to majorly inconvenience the lives of thousands of law-abiding adults, just because there may be a small correlation between the rising prominence of these devices and curious teens trying them out.

    Who is actually for this?? What is wrong with you people?!?!!

    • Bert Macklin

      you look like a drug addict smoking these things, have some self control and keep it outdoors

      • JugsPutin

        Yeah, and back in the day, a dude who made out with another dude in public was seen as a shameless freak lacking all self-control, a total godless deviant who needs to be locked up due to that lack. Dancing and music and any sort of merrymaking was seen as “shameless and lacking in self-control” in various societies throughout history…

        You tell me I “look like a drug addict smoking those things”. Do you have a problem with that? Everyone who drinks coffee in public is then made a drug addict by your ethical measuring stick. Oh, unless of course you differentiate the “necessary” drugs (i.e. drugs that are perceived to help people do their jobs) from the “unnecessary” drugs (i.e. drugs that are commonly thought of as “recreational”). I don’t – frankly, it’s about the mental and physical wellbeing of the individual. Any macroeconomic concerns about worker productivity can frankly go vaporize themselves.

        My entire point is that I want a forced realignment of the kinds of value judgments we place on drug use. I want people to get used to seeing everyone vaping their drug-intake devices and getting high – because there is nothing wrong with doing drugs in public. If you think that everyone who vapes in front of you is a “drug addict”, that’s your problem. If seeing people use recreational drugs bothers you (for no other reason other than you knowing the effect the drugs are having on their consciousness), then you are the one with the problem and you need to realign your attitudes.

        There’s also the supposition that eliminating the stigma associated with recreational drug use could actually lead to more people seeking treatment for addiction… What a crazy thought – if you don’t tell people what they are doing is inherently wrong, they won’t hide it away as some dark secret, thus being more susceptible to early suggestions of treatment, etc…

  • JugsPutin

    Oh, and in fact:

    Again, I think everyone should demand to know why they are going through with this.

    • Winterbourne

      Maybe the rest of us just don’t want to smell it or see it. Maybe as a society we’re realizing it’s better to play it safe then to allow people to recreate wherever they please.

      I smoke my stuff in the privacy of my own home and vehicles and have no problems. But if you can’t stop yourself from hitting up the nicotine every couple of minutes that’s your problem, go outside.

      • JugsPutin

        Uh…as a society, we allow ourselves to wallow in all kinds of bad smells. Personally, I think marijuana smells GREAT – and is a million times more pleasing of an odor than, say, exhaust fumes. (But exhaust fumes are, of course, necessary to churn the gears of industry – so we tolerate these, even though they are known pollutants and carcinogens.)

        No, what you are actually objecting is the experience of witnessing somebody do something commonly thought of as ‘transgressive’. You said yourself: you don’t want to see it. Why? How dare you ask people to keep private something that doesn’t affect you in any way?

        It’s not about needing to smoke wherever, whenever. It’s about rules that are made out of common-sense, science-driven policies – and not as a result of silly puritanical baggage this country is cursed with. Again, you yourself said “I don’t want to see it.” In other words, “not in front of the children!!!”

    • Guest

      They’re doing it for three reasons:
      1.) Some of them get campaign donations from money funneled through other organizations by cigarette companies.

      2.) They assume that militant anti-smoking people who are want e-cigarettes banned are more likely to vote than people who don’t care about it.
      3.) They are completely ignorant about e-cigarettes and are treating them like normal cigarettes because they don’t care enough to educate themselves.

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