Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 2014 — Faced with a dramatic increase in the use of electronic vaporizing devices among children and adults, Councilman At-Large Bill Green on Thursday moved to regulate electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, under the City’s “Clear Indoor Air Worker Protection Law.”
“We’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of children who are using e-cigarettes, and one in five kids certainly aren’t using e-cigs to quit smoking because they’ve never smoked before,” Councilman Green said. “An important outcome of this legislation is the affirmation of a tobacco-free lifestyle, since the use of e-cigs in public places erodes decades of critical work focused on decreasing tobacco consumption. Smoking is definitely not something we want to become ‘cool’ again.”
The legislation, co-sponsored by Councilman At-Large Bill Greenlee, classifies consumption of e-cigarettes under Section 10-602 of the Philadelphia City Code by defining their use as “smoking” and prohibiting their use in “any Enclosed Area to which the general public is invited or in which the general public is routinely permitted.” Under the legislation proposed, the use of e-cigarettes would be subject to the same restrictions as the use of normal cigarettes. Private clubs and so-called Drinking Establishments (with sales of food to be consumed on premises less than 20% of total sales) would be eligible to apply for waivers to the Ordinance, as they are under existing law with regards to normal cigarettes.
“There is a lack of Federal oversight of e-cigarettes and the potential damaging effect it has on smokers and non-smokers,” Councilman Greenlee said. “Until the FDA is able to regulate this product we must safeguard our citizens and especially our youth by regulating these e-cigs as we do normal cigarettes.”
In the first major study of e-cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that from 2011 to 2012, the percentage of high school students who have used e-cigarettes more than doubled, from 4.7 percent to 10 percent; moreover, more than 20 percent of the middle school students who reported using e-cigarettes said they had never tried traditional cigarettes.