Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County cities look to ban E-cigarettes

Cities take a stand against unregulated E-cigarettes


SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The Food and Drug Administration unveiled a 241-page proposal on e-cigarettes Thursday.

In the proposal, the FDA seeks to ban the sale to minors of tobacco products that are currently unregulated -  including e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and hookahs. The rules will also make it mandatory for ingredient disclosure, federal approval and warning labels. However, it does not include anything specifically about banning flavors - such as bubble gum -that are more appealing to minors.

It also does not ban Internet sales to adults or TV ads, unless they make false health claims.

Cities like Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley aren't wasting anytime waiting for these rules to go into effect. They are making their own rules to ban the wide use of e-cigarettes in their community. Santa Cruz assistant city manager Scott Collins says there's no proof these unregulated vapes are safe.

"The city took the position it's better to be safe than sorry and so we are now in the phase of regulating e-cigarettes like we would tobacco smoke," said Collins.

The e-cigarette market with hundreds of vape flavors and outfitting designs has made a booming market for smoke shops. Pipeline, a smoke shop in downtown Santa Cruz, says that it has a lot of people coming in to purchase e-cigarettes.

"They provide a legitimate alternative for people trying to wean themselves off tobacco," said Pipeline general manager, Uriah Wilkons.

Pipelines customers might be using them to kick a habit, but officials in the city of Santa Cruz doesn't buy the health benefits they may provide.

In two weeks, Santa Cruz is widening its ban on smoking to include banning E-cigarettes from being smoked downtown, at beaches, in parks, and in restaurants and bars.

 "We don't really know what's in them and we don't know current manufacturing practices," said Andrea Silva-Solano, the senior health educator for Santa Cruz county health department.

Santa Cruz County Health Department officials says the biggest problem is that most of the products are marketed to minors with no regulation.

At Pipeline, they make sure no one under 18 is even entering their store, and Uriah Wilkons thinks the new regulations posed by both city of Santa Cruz and the FDA  aren't a bad idea

"I think regulation for many purposes is a good thing especially for safety," said Wilkons.

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