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E-Cigarettes Become Hot Topic with Lakewood City Council

The Lakewood City Council is clamping down on E-Cigarette stores.

The Lakewood City Council is clamping down on E-Cigarette stores.

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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  • Jimmiepr says:

    E-cigarettes”, or personal vaporisers, are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine through a solution that is heated into vapour, then inhaled and exhaled. ‘Vapers” presently have to buy their nicotine in ”personal amounts” from overseas because it remains classified as a ”dangerous poison” and can only be sold within Australia, in the form of cigarettes, under licence.The cheapest ”tanks” can be bought for as little as $20, with some designed to look like traditional cigarettes – complete with glowing tip. But as the industry has developed, so has the range of devices and accessories. Fairfax Media caught up with several vapers last week whose habit has become their hobby, spending thousands of dollars on handcrafted limited edition tanks from around the world, complete with luxury ”drip tips” – the mouthpiece attached to the top of device.

    And the latest undisputed king of tanks? The ”Piston Steampunk Mod” built by Steampunk Vapors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At $700, it comes with its own hand-stitched leather case. The introduction of plain packaging had many predicting the end for Big Tobacco. Then along came a smoke-free product that some saw as an opportunity to reinvent themselves. Most big tobacco companies have already muscled in on an industry that generated a reported $US2 billion in sales last year in the US. There are an estimated 5 million users in the US alone.

    However, firms will still be allowed to advertise e-cigarettes – as long as they do not feature health claims. Companies will also be allowed to continue offering flavours perceived by anti-tobacco lobbyists as an attempt to target teens. E-cigarettes may not contain the same lethal chemicals and carcinogens as cigarettes, but health experts warn there is still no comprehensive research into the risks of frequently inhaled vapour.

    Earlier this month, a US study on the effects of e-cigarette vapour on human lung cells found it could potentially change gene expression in a similar way to tobacco. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in California, the research analysed human bronchial cells that contained mutations found in smokers at risk of lung cancer. It found that cells grown under medium exposure to e-cigarette vapour changed in a similar fashion to those exposed to tobacco smoke. However, researchers acknowledge the work is only at a preliminary stage.

    While no e-cigarette users fell ill from using the product, researchers said its long-term safety was unclear. ”E-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, were modestly effective at helping smokers to quit, with similar achievement of abstinence as with nicotine patches, and few adverse events,” said the study, published in The Lancet. But, it adds: ”Uncertainty exists about the place of e-cigarettes in tobacco control, and more research is urgently needed to clearly establish their overall benefits and harms.