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By Rico Dizon
E-Cigarettes have become a hot political topic in Lakewood.
City officials are pursuing what they call “a deep concern on the proliferation of electronic cigarettes and vapor devices” that are being sold in greater numbers in the bedroom community.
The Lakewood City Council voted on Oct. 8 to request the staff to come up with a draft of resolution amending the municipal code to include e-cigarettes and paraphernalia in the existing regulations on regular tobacco products.
In addition, the City Council directed city staff members to come up with a zoning recommendation as regard the sale and use of said products.
Lakewood Director for Community Development Sonia Southwell reported during the meeting that there are two shops specializing in the sale of e-cigarettes and vapor devices in the city and these are- a store called “Genki Vake” and a kiosk located at the center mall inside the Lakewood Shopping Center on Lakewood Blvd. and Del Amo St.
The electronic cigarettes, according to Southwell, originated in China in 2002 and were introduced in the United States in 2006. Although at present the FDA has no existing proof on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes, the Federal Agency is putting heavy pressure for the promulgation of regulations on the sale and use of said products. The current regulations are on a city-to-city basis only, said Southwell.
Southwell added, “The vaporizers come in different flavors of fruit juices that may possibly attract young people including those under 18 to these products.”
Even as Council Member Ron Piazza saw a need to research more on the emergence of these new products and with Council Member Diane DuBois not fully in favor of a moratorium at this stage, nevertheless Mayor Steve Croft believes it is time to make amendment in the municipal code to include the e-cigarettes just like (if not more) in the regulation for tobacco products.
Vice Mayor Todd Rogers noted, “Cities around us are taking necessary cautions,” and expressed his desire to add zoning regulations in the sale and use of the products such as away from schools and recreation centers.
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