Los Angeles e-cig ban takes effect

VENICE - Owners of vapor lounges around Los Angeles are hoping a new law banning electronic cigarettes from public places that took effect at midnight Friday will bring in more business.
 
E-cigarette users, who call themselves "vapers," in Los Angeles are now relegated to the ranks of tobacco smokers due to a ban on e-cigarette use at bars, restaurants and other public areas.
 
There are a few exceptions, including indoor workplace vaping to continue at lounges and retail stores dedicated to e-cigarettes.
 
Niklas Thellin, owner of Venice Vapor Lab, said he's hopeful for more business, but the purpose of his shop is to help people stop smoking regular cigarettes.
 
"People don't really go to vapor shops to party or have a good time," Thellin said. "They see it more as a stop where they get their basic needs to stay off of cigarettes."
 
Thellin called the ban unfortunate.
 
"I know my customers will not stop using electronic cigarettes because it is their only crutch to keep them from going back to cigarettes," Thellin said.
 
The ban goes into effect more than a month after the Los Angeles City Council, citing potentially harmful chemicals emitted via e-cigarette vapors, voted to restrict e-cigarette use in the same areas where tobacco smoking is barred.
 
The ban was approved over the vocal objections of e-cigarette users who credit the devices -- which allow them to inhale nicotine through water vapors -- with helping them quit tobacco smoking.
 
Also exempted from the ban is vaping done for "theatrical purposes," such as on a theater stage by actors to simulate tobacco smoking.
 
Darrin Gold, who started the L.A. Vapers Club three years ago after he picked up e-cigarette smoking, was among those who protested the law in March.
 
Gold said the ban could cause smokers to "skip electronic cigarettes and just keep smoking."
 
Gold, whose group meets monthly at a Glendora sports club, also said e-cigarette users will likely adjust to the ban and seek out venues outside of the city to continue vaping.
 
City Councilman Joe Buscaino expressed sympathy Thursday for e-cigarette users who oppose the ban, saying he and his colleagues were not presented with "conclusive evidence that second-hand vapor from e-cigarettes is harmful."

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