E-Cigarette Smoking Could be Banned at L.A. Restaurants, Beaches

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Michael Dorausch/Flickr

Hold onto to your e-cigarettes while you can, people, because using them might soon be banned in the same places that prohibit lighting up regular smokes.

The L.A. City Council today will consider a new motion to be introduced by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell that would treat electronic devices the same way that cigarette smoking is regulated in town.

And means no puffing, electronic or otherwise, in or on:

-city beaches, or
-within 25 feet of playground equipment, bleachers, backstops, sports courts and fields, and picnic areas.

Yep. O’Farrell’s spokesman, Tony Arranaga, confirmed to the Weekly the gist of today’s proposal.

According to a statement put out by the offices of O’Farrell and the City Attorney:

The motion directs the City Attorney’s office to draft an ordinance to regulate the usage of electronic smoking devices where smoking is prohibited by law.

But wait, there’s more:

The council today will also weigh Councilman Paul Koretz‘s motion to raise the age limit on e-cigarette purchases to those 18 or older. As it stands, electronic tobacco retailing has no age limit for customers.

There have also been efforts on the state level to treat the battery-operated “vapes” (for nicotine vaporizers or atomizers) the same as regular cigs.

Proponents of e-cigarettes have been enjoying loopholes in the law, often smoking at bars and restaurants without reprisal. They argue that the water vapor emitted by the devices is not smoke and that it is not harmful.

However, some critics say that scientific testing has yet to catch up with the devices. The jury is still out about whether they are the source of second-hand smoke danger.

Los Angeles may become largest GMO-free area in the US.

 Los Angeles City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell introduced Friday a motion to curb growth proliferation of GMO seeds and plants within the city. The councilmen said the proposal aims to protect local gardens and city-grown food from future contamination from GMO seeds. The motion would not impact the sale of food containing GMO ingredients, however.

GMO seeds are mostly used only by large-scale farming operations, of which none exists in Los Angeles city.

“The pending ordinance would be symbolic more than anything else, but we do feel it’s an important step to have the second-largest city in the nation declare itself as against genetically modified seeds,” said head of Learning Garden and Seed Library of LA David King, who assisted in creating the motion.

King told The Huffington Post that if GMO seeds begin to be marketed to smaller farmers, the ban would be in place to protect home-grown food.

O’Farrell said suspicions that powerful new pesticides – incorporated into plant DNA via genetic engineering – have devastated worldwide honeybee populations by 40 to 50 percent in 2012 is the“canary in the coal mine” for GMOs. California’s almond crop, which supplies 80 percent of US almonds, has fallen on tough times given almonds rely so much on bees.

“A growing number of problems are being traced to GMOs,” Koretz said in a statement. He cited examples like “the evolution of ‘superbug’ insects which are growing immune to the pesticides engineered within GMO crops” and “‘seed drift’ (for example the recent finding of GMO-pollinated wheat growing in an Oregon farmer’s field).”

Some smaller US localities have banned the cultivation of GMOs, but LA would be by far the biggest US city to do so.

Genetic engineering on plants, for example, occurs when a gene from another plant species, bacterium or virus is inserted into the organism’s DNA.

An international group of over 90 scientists, academics and physicians released a statement early this week saying there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs for humans, as proponents likeMonsanto attest, and that any GMO cultivation should take internationally-approved precautions.

“The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue,” the statement said.
“Moreover, the claim encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment.”

A public effort to require all GMO foods and seeds to be labeled as such throughout the entire state of California failed a year ago. Opponents of Proposition 37 – like Monsanto and Kraft – helped donate around $46 million to the cause against labeling. Supporters of labeling raised just over $9 million in that defeat.
Voters in Washington State will consider a labeling requirement next month. Opponents of Initiative 522 – led by questionable fundraising tactics by industry trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association – have pumped $17 million into the effort to defeat labeling. Supporters have raised over $5 million.

A lawsuit filed by the state against the GMA claimed that the group violated campaign disclosure laws, and forced it to reveal donors to its “Defense of Brands Strategic Account.”

Out of the 34 companies who doled out over $7.2 million into the initiative the top three were PepsiCo, which contributed $1.6 million, and Nestle USA, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Co., which spent over $1 million each.

Source: RT.com