0

Fremont, Hayward restrict e-cigarette sales, temporarily ban new vapor lounges

Coming up for air today after an especially busy few weeks. Getting back into the swing of things, here’s what will be in tomorrow’s Argus (and Oakland Tribune and Daily Review) …

FREMONT — The opportunity for e-cigarette entrepreneurs to open new vapor bars and hookah lounges in Fremont and Hayward has gone up in smoke — for now, anyway.

Both East Bay cities temporarily banned new such businesses earlier this month, while allowing existing retailers to stay open pending further study of the trendy smoking products’ health effects.

Fremont’s City Council added e-cigarettes to its list of prohibited smoking products on Feb. 11, Community Development Director Jeff Schwob said. It also placed a 45-day moratorium on new retailers and vapor bars, where customers use the smokeless devices.

The battery powered devices heat a small amount of nicotine — sometimes flavored — to create a vapor that users inhale. The method avoids cigarette byproducts such as tar and chemicals.

“People might think they’re not harmful because they’re not regulated,” Schwob said, noting that the city will err on the side of caution. “Basically, we’re treating e-cigarettes the same as we treat regular cigarettes.” But are they the same? The Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule soon on that question, and some states and cities have held off enacting regulations until then.

For more, click here.

Chris DeBenedetti