Carlsbad City Council votes to ban use of e-cigarettes in public spaces, anywhere smoking is illegal

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Carlsbad City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public spaces, anywhere smoking is illegal.

"Yeah, we're excited," said Gena Knutson. "We were hoping that the city council would go this way."

Knutson was one of nearly a half a dozen speaking to the council regarding the potential harms of e-cigs, especially to children and teens.

"They have flavors like cotton candy, root beer, chocolate so they're very appealing to youth and contain nicotine so they're highly addictive," said Knutson.

Known as "vaping," e-cigs deliver a nicotine vapor that can be inhaled. City officials cited the confusion the device is creating and the complaints they say they are getting from residents, especially in libraries, where people are using them and smoking laws do not apply.

Last month, 10News spoke with e-cig user Chris Vanzant, who says the electronic device is the only thing that helped him kick a 20-year addiction.

"It's not 100 percent healthy but it's healthier than normal tobacco cigarettes," said Vanzant.

The actual health risks are a subject of debate, but makers of the battery-operated cigarette maintain that it contains no tar or carbon monoxide.

Health advocates say the secondhand smoke risks are just as bad.

The American Lung Association has come down on the side of banning the electronic devices, citing two initial studies that show the electronic cigarettes emit chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene.

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