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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

LA Votes to Restrict E-Cigarette Sales

The unanimous vote expands the city's tobacco vending law and bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. 

The Los Angeles City Council voted 15 to 0 Wednesday to restrict the sale and use of electronic cigarettes.

The heightened measures expand the city's tobacco vending law and ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Although e-cigarettes involve no actual tobacco, the e-cigarettes produce nicotine vapors.

"These are nicotine delivery system marketed the same way cigarettes are with different flavors," said Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. "They are known to contain dozens and dozens of carcinogens in one of the cartridges. We think it's a public health hazard."

No studies have yet documented any harms from smoking e-cigarettes. Still, council members and community activists said the vote was guided by safety.

"It is a nicotine delivery system and it is addictive. It is a gateway to cigarettes," said the communications director for Breathe California of Los Angeles County, Stephanie Molen.

The ordinance awaits approval by Mayor Garcetti.

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