City of Richmond cracking down on e-cigarettes

December 4, 2013 12:33:43 PM PST
The city of Richmond has taken the first step towards banning electronic cigarettes.

The city council has voted unanimously to adopt a new ordinance to prohibit e-cigarettes in any enclosed public space.

The battery-powered devices are smokeless, allowing users to inhale nicotine vapor rather than tobacco fumes.

Proponents believe e-cigarettes are cleaner and healthier than their tobacco-filled counterpart. But city leaders and health advocates said the devices may be dangerous to smokers and can serve as a gateway to smoking cigarettes for children.

Electronic cigarette sales surged from about 50,000 in 2008 to 3.5 million in 2012, and the number of children who reported trying the product has increased, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. E-cigarettes are not yet regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration agency.

The council will follow up Tuesday's action with another reading of the ordinance early next year. That ordinance could then become law in 90 days.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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