L.A. City Council Unanimously Bans Vaping in Public Places


FIN e-cigarette ad

As expected, the Los Angeles City Council today voted unanimously to ban vaping everywhere that smoking is banned, including indoor workplaces and outdoor locations such as parks, beaches, and restaurant patios. Although one of the main rationales for the ban is that children might confuse e-cigarettes with the real thing and mistakenly conclude that smoking is not so bad after all, an amendment that would have exempted bars and other establishments that are open only to adults was defeated by a vote of 8 to 6. In a generous concession, the city will allow people to vape in vaping lounges, in e-cigarette stores, and on stage for "theatrical purposes."

Judging from the account in the Los Angeles Times, the debate over the ordinance was dominated by non sequiturs: 

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who pushed for the new restrictions, spoke of his unhappiness at breathing secondhand smoke during his days as a waiter in the early 1990s….

Council President Herb Wesson, in the most passionate speech of the day, described his decades-long addiction to cigarettes, a habit he told his colleagues would almost certainly kill him one day.

Wesson said he began smoking because he wanted to be cool.

"When you're 15, you want to be cool," he said. "And I will not support anything—anything—that might attract one new smoker."

What if the thing that "might attract one new smoker" already has helped thousands of smokers quit a habit that was threatening their health and their lives? Why do these actual people count for nothing in Wesson's calculus, while the hypothetical person attracted to smoking by vaping has the power to move legislation? And what on earth does O'Farrell's distaste for secondhand smoke have to do with a product that generates none?

Here is what passed for scientific guidance at the council meeting:

"Safer does not mean safe," Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health director, told the council. "Although they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, some e-cigarettes contain some health risks."

Fielding is absolutely right: Safer does not mean safe. But safer does mean safer—in this case, given the absence of tobacco and combustion, much safer. So why is the Los Angles City Council taking steps to discourage smokers from switching to a far less hazardous source of nicotine? For the children:

Foes of e-cigarettes said they threaten to make smoking socially acceptable after years of public opinion campaigns to discourage the habit. Young people who get hooked on the nicotine in e-cigarettes may then turn to tobacco use, said Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

"We don't want to risk e-cigarettes undermining a half-century of successful tobacco control," he said.

It is rather mysterious how that would happen, since the main selling point of e-cigarettes is that they are much less dangerous and disgusting than the conventional kind. Nor is there any evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking. But politicians do not need evidence when they've got the precautionary principle.

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  1. The temperance movement never did have any logic or sound reasoning on its side when it pushed for Prohibition. It was all glandular sound and fury, emoting it’s way into the Constitution.

    Nearly 100 years later, it’s clear that very little has changed in the movement, excepting the target.

    1. Guess what’s next after its no longer cool and liberating?

  2. I keep thinking that an e-cig in the shape of an asthma inhaler would be a great business opportunity.

    1. Yeah, until you get sued by the family of an asthmatic after the cops shoot their family member because they thought he was vaping in the park near the kids.

      They’d sue you because they know there is no way they are going to be able to sue the cops.

    2. The FDA officials would shit themselves in horror at the idea that a recreational thing could look like a medicine delivery system.

      And the religious fanatics who work for the FDA would not ever be willing to consider the possibility that their superstitious fears need not be acted on.

      1. That would be part of the fun. There’s no law against it, AFAIK. Both e-cigs and asthma inhalers are legal, so making one that looks like the other should be fine.

      2. The FDA officials would shit themselves in horror at the idea that a recreational thing could look like a medicine delivery system.

        Remember how the FDA didn’t want to regulate tobacco because it literally didn’t make sense within the scope of their mission? Then remember how that changed? Yeah.

  3. In Progressive Utopia, our puritanical impulses are channeled properly: through the apparatus of the state, ensuring that nobody anywhere is doing anything any right-thinking person could possibly disapprove of.

    Because FYTW.

  4. How is this not a violation of the First Amendment? There isn’t ANY harm to ANYONE, not even one’s self. They’re banning the expression of smoking, even if one isn’t actually smoking.


  6. Young people who get hooked on the nicotine in e-cigarettes may then turn to tobacco use

    It is inevitable right after the e-cig ban.

  7. There’s a level of malignant idiocy that really cannot be constructively engaged. Apparently, it can be found at the LA City Council. The only solution is to remove the malignant idiot from any possibility of doing anything.

    1. Can’t we treat it with radiation?

      1. Only from orbit.

      2. Can’t we treat it with radiation?

        Preceded by a very, very large explosive blast, yes.

    2. Anyone who runs for public office should be subject to psychiatric evaluation. I’ll bet we get a LOT of washouts.

  8. It’s about time they banned raping in LA. One less thing to hate about that shithole.



    Never mind.

  9. Unanimously, bitches. Not one member said, “Hang on…”. Not ooooooonnnneeeeee.

  10. One wonders how outgunned one must feel if they’re even slightly libertarian. I’m not talking Reason H&R libertarian… I’m talking a pure lightweight. Someone who occasionally chin-scratches about freedom or wonders if *some* regulation might go a little too far.

    1. As a purebred H&R One True ScotsmanLibertarian living in the epicenter of teh stoopid that is Downtown Los Angeles, I can tell you that I constantly feel outnumbered. But I only feel outgunned by the police.

  11. Now only outlaws vape in the bar.

  12. I hope these motherfuckers die a very painful, very slow death, unable to get whatever substance they need for some relief because it’s been banned For The Children?.

  13. .
    The ALA, TFK, CDC, etc, are literally forbidding people to not smoke via the only way that has ever worked to help them not want to smoke.
    Vaping is not smoking. It simulates smoking, which is why it works so beautifully.
    The nicotine in a cigarette is boosted, plus it hits the receptors in the body within 10 minutes.
    The nicotine in an eCig is pharmecutical non boosted, hits the nicotine receptors in the body a quarter as much as a real smoke, after an hour’s worth of vaping! This means that after an hour of vaping, the intake is only a quarter of the amount that a cigarette provides in 10 minutes. Becoming addicted to the nicotine in an eCig, especially a zero nic hookah pen eCig that the curious enjoy, is pretty slim, IMO. The kids are pretty savvy about addiction, and prefer the zero nicotine varieties. Kudos to them! The minors who use nicotine were previous smokers. Many of them have diluted their nicotine strengths down, gradually, until they are nicotine free.
    The anti-eCig propaganda is just that, propaganda. Big Pharma and MSA/TSET play a huge role in promoting the propaganda. Follow the money.

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