Rancho Cordova considers reigning in electronic cigarettes

Photo courtesy of  Michael Dorausch.

By Jessica Rine

Rancho Cordova may be the first city in the region to stub out secondhand vapor.

On Monday, April 7, the city council will consider regulating electronic cigarettes in the same manner it does tobacco-based products. Council members requested updates to local ordinances last month, when they also enacted a 45-day moratorium on any new vapor bars, as well as hookah and smoking lounges.

City officials characterized the moves as their attempt to reign in a trending product with uncertain health effects. “The e-cigarette regulations are pretty silent, because e-cigarettes weren’t even on the radar when the regulations were made,” planning director Paul Junker said on March 17.

A mechanism inside of electronic cigarettes heats liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor, which is inhaled by the user and dissipates within seconds upon being exhaled. No one seems to know how safe they are, or how harmful the secondhand vapor possibly is.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet passed judgment, and the safety of e-cigarettes is currently unknown, according to the California Medical Association. California state law prohibits the sale of e-cigs to minors, but does not extend other smoking restrictions to them.

Rancho Cordova isn’t the only city to impose precautionary measures. Last month, the Davis City Council directed staff to come back later in the spring, likely May, with a proposal to add e-cigarettes and hookahs to the current nonsmoking city code, according to Kelly Stachowicz, Davis’ deputy city manager.

Spokespeople for the cities of Sacramento and Folsom said they don’t anticipate addressing e-cigarettes anytime soon.

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