The City Council of Los Angeles has recently voted in favour of a bill prohibiting electronic cigarettes from being used in all nightclubs, bars, restaurants and public spaces within the city limits. In a unanimous decision, the nicotine vapour producing, battery operated devices are sought to be banned in specified public places in the city.
Once signed into a law, Los Angeles would become the third major city to impose such a ban, following in the footsteps of New York and Chicago.
In the UK, a hot debate is raging as to whether e-cigarette manufacturers should be permitted to advertise their products.
UK has witnessed a huge increase in the use of electronic cigarettes with Mintel, a data research company estimating the market for e-cigarettes at £193m.
E-cigarettes have been dogged by controversy right from inception with politicians and anti-smoking lobbies claiming that they normalise smoking.
Users of electronic cigarettes inhale a vapour instead of the smoke from burning tobacco thereby avoiding the ash and other harmful substances that traditional cigarette smoke contains.
The law as it stands in the UK allows e-cigarette producers to advertise the device on television and other advertising media.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), through a consultation, seeks to ensure that there is “clarity and protection” in connection with the advertising of electronic cigarettes.
Shahriar Coupal, secretary of CAP summed up the objective of the consultation stating that in the rapidly growing e-cigarette market, the present rules appear to be inadequate and did not provide the required clarity to advertisers. They aim to provide a new set of rules which will serve as broad guidelines for advertisers.
According to Coupal, the lurking danger of connecting e-cigarettes advertisements with tobacco products and the added fact that a majority of electronic cigarettes are nicotine-delivery systems, made it imperative to have rules as to the responsibilities of advertisers as well as to ensure that the interests of the general public and, more specifically, of children are safeguarded.
The consultation document also pointed out that the EU was studying the pattern of e-cigarette use and this would have a bearing on the way in which electronic cigarettes would be advertised and regulated.
Chicago has banned vaping (as using electronic cigarettes is called) in all places where smoking is not permitted while New York has imposed a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in all public spaces, effective from the end of the last year (2013)
Regulators in the UK have made it illegal for anyone under the legal age to buy electronic cigarettes.
A non-smoking group in Sweden, in its efforts to keep impressionable video game enthusiasts away from smoking, has established an anti-smoking clinic in Minecraft, a video game which is popular among the youth.
The group also revealed that the youth were under the misconception that smoking was a means used by people to demonstrate their fearlessness.
Ann-Therese Enarsson who is with A Non-Smoking Generation, while speaking to PSFK, a news website, said that they encourage youth to discuss their fears rather than seek solace from a cigarette.