[KHTS] – Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved the regulation of electronic smoking devices, or ESDs, at its Tuesday night meeting.
The council first considered the matter in April and put the move on hold to allow time for consideration of public comments.
The ordinance would define the use of all forms of ESDs as smoking.
Because of the evidence that ESDs are becoming the primary method of nicotine delivery to youth, considering the direct marketing the industry has aimed at children and youth, the ordinance would ban e-cigarettes in many public places, according to Tuesday’s agenda report.
E-cigarettes will be prohibited from places of employment, restaurants and bars, city facilities, city vehicles, public places and city parks, trails and open spaces – except that they could be used in vaping stores and in “bars and restaurants where explicitly allowed by state law.”
There were six written complaints and 11 verbal complaints primarily regarding the use of ESDs on public transit and within enclosed public areas, said presenter Jessica Frank, the associate planner for the city of Santa Clarita.
An increasing number of medical marijuana users are now using ESDs as a method of self-administering marijuana (hash) oil or Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) infused wax, according to the report.
Although the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved the ordinance, Councilman TimBen Boydston and Councilman Dante Acosta were more sensitive to the vaping community.
A number of people contacted Boydston directly about how they were able to quit smoking through vaping, he said.
Contrary to claims that ESDs help smokers successfully quit traditional cigarettes, there is no scientific evidence proving these devices are viable as nicotine replacement therapy or a cessation aid, according to the report.
Boydston made the argument of “carving out areas for the public that is trying to quit,” however the other councilmembers did not support.
In the end, Boydston and Acosta voted yes on the ordinance because it may protect the children.
Three speakers, Steve Petzold, Cam Noltemeyer and Brian Viggianelli, addressed the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday night about the ordinance.
“I believe in liberty. … Cats don’t equal dogs. Tobacco is not vapor,” said Petzold. “I would like each one of you to consider, if you were looking at your son in the face and he was vaping in front of you would you say, ‘I wish you would go to tobacco.’”
Petzold has a son that uses vapor to remain alert while he’s studying. Petzold said he would much rather have him vaping than smoking cigarettes.
Noltemeyer supported the ordinance, “it’s time that this community heard it… We have a drug problem in this city and you can’t continue to bury your heads in the sand. This is nothing more than a drug problem… You don’t allow the pot shops, so why do you let them to run free like this.”
Eight written comment cards were also in favor of passing the ordinance.
Viggianelli was representing the Vapor Dept. located in Santa Clarita.
“I can tell you that, for the vapor shop I work with and all the other vapor shops in the surrounding area, we don’t sell anything that has to do with marijuana. We are a community of people that are trying to provide alternatives for people that are looking to get off of smoking cigarettes,” said Viggianelli. “People that use marijuana will always find different ways of smoking or using marijuana and it is not the same, nor is it even used by the shops in Santa Clarita.”
Viggianelli wanted more research to be done to make a clear distinction between what vaporizer shops in Santa Clarita have available and the use of marijuana.