Smoking e-Cigarettes restricted in Santa Monica

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Smoking e-cigarettes in Santa Monica is now restricted in the same way as traditional cigarettes following a unanimous City Council vote.

The ban was voted into place last month, but Thursday is the first enforcement day for the new policy. It outlaws e-cigarettes in any place where traditional smoking is already banned.

The policy prohibits people from smoking cigarettes, vaporizers or e-cigarettes in beaches, public parks, libraries, outdoor dining areas, bus stops, ATM lines and within 20 feet of doors and windows of buildings that are open to the public.

The use of e-cigarettes are also banned in residential areas where smoking is already prohibited, including non-smoking apartment and condo units and common areas of multi-unit buildings.

The Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade are included in the ban.

"Vaping" will also be prohibited inside all businesses, including vaping lounges -- although the two "vape shops" already licensed in the city, Fix Vapor and Vapor Delight, will be exempted.

Those who agree with the new rules say they're glad they won't be exposed to vapor.

"I'm a singer, I'm a performer, so I think it's something that's kind of a nuisance to me. I know it's not as harmful as regular cigarettes but it's still something I don't want to be around," said Brittany Davis, an area resident. "If it's a private area and it's a place you have a regulation on that, then I think it's a good thing."

Others say the new policy hits people who are already struggling.

"I've been homeless for a few days, and if I get a smoking ticket, it's going to be much harder for me to get off the street and get on with my life," said a woman who wanted to be identified as "Sarah."

The new policy also requires businesses that sell electronic cigarettes to obtain a license from the city.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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