California Officials Taking Aim at Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes

by | Feb 12, 2015 | Tobacco |

A California agency recognizes the health dangers of e-cigarettes in a new report.

Within one week at the end of January 2015, the California Department of Public Health issued a Health Advisory about the risks of electronic cigarettes and two state legislators introduced separate bills, one that would raise the legal age for tobacco sale and purchase in the state to 21, and another that would expand public smoking restrictions to include e-cigarette use.

The Electronic Cigarette Report

Electronic cigarettes, cigarette- or pipe-like devices also called e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, vape or hookah pens, e-hookahs, mods and vape pipes, use battery power to heat so-called e-liquid to release a nicotine mist. Proponents say that e-cigs can help those addicted to cigarettes by delivering nicotine to the body more safely because fewer dangerous chemicals are inhaled, but the California agency strongly disagrees.

The CDPH report issues a stern health warning, noting that e-cigarettes contain at least 10 dangerous chemicals recognized in California to cause cancer or reproductive harm: in addition to nicotine, lead, formaldehyde, cadmium, nickel, benzene and more. Chemicals are inhaled in the vapor and absorbed into and circulated through the body. The report also cites the danger of secondhand aerosol from the devices.

CDPH is also concerned about possible poisoning and even potentially death through the ingestion or absorption through skin or eyes of the e-liquid by children. The liquid is sometimes flavored like candy and is not sold in child-proof containers.

The Proposed Legislation

In the California Senate, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has introduced a bill that would add e-cigarettes to the tobacco products already banned from use in certain places like schools, public buildings or vehicles, nonsmoking areas of clinics and other health facilities, group homes, crisis nurseries, licensed daycare centers, within 25 feet of playgrounds or the selling areas of farmers’ markets, certain areas of food facilities, charitable temporary food facilities, certain public transportation modes, vehicles with children, most workplaces and more.

According to The Huffington Post, this bill is supported by the American Lung Association, American Heart Association and American Cancer Society.

In another legislative development, Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, introduced a bill that would change the legal age the sale or purchase of tobacco to 21 from 18.

The personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Brayton Purcell, L.L.P., from offices in Novato and Los Angeles, California, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon, represent clients harmed by toxic substances, and dangerous or defective products. The firm supports these two bills pending consideration in the California legislature.