By Kristina Houck
Days after neighboring Solana Beach officially adopted an ordinance that bans the use of electronic cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited, the Del Mar City Council requested staff to draft a similar ordinance. The item, which was approved 5-0, was included on the council’s March 17 consent calendar.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate tobacco smoking, but do not contain tobacco. Users inhale vaporized liquid that may or may not contain nicotine and can include a variety of other flavors.
Supporters argue e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, while critics contend they encourage use by young people.
Although the actual health risks are a subject of debate, the American Lung Association has called for regulation of these devices to protect public health, citing two initial studies that show e-cigarettes emit chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and tobacco-specific nitrosamines.
Current state law prohibits e-cigarette sales to minors but does not regulate where the devices can be used.
In addition to Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Poway and Vista have enacted similar regulations. El Cajon, Encinitas, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Oceanside and San Diego are currently developing new regulations or policies.