Santa Monica Limits E-Cigarettes

City Council votes to regulate the devices in the same way as regular cigarettes, effectively banning them from bars, clubs and restaurants

The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously late Tuesday night to bar e-cigarettes from clubs, bars, restaurants and anywhere regular cigarettes aren’t allowed.

The seaside town joins a growing list of cities that have restricted the use of the devices, including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Beverly Hills.

“I think what we’re certainly going to do is look closely at all of the data regarding public health and regarding other impacts on our town,” Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day said Tuesday before the council took up the issue.

The new ordinance expands the definition of cigarettes to include e-cigarettes, but allows exceptions to be made for vapor shops, which depend on the allowance to operate.

Before the vote, vapor shop owner Omar Abaza said his business hinges on the ability of his customers to use the product, and pointed to Los Angeles’ exception for shops like his.

“You’re talking about 15 blocks that way, where basically people who go 15 blocks down that way will be able to enjoy all of the amenities provided to them by vapor lounges and we’re going to be here as a sitting duck, basically, with nothing to offer our consumers,” he said.

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