UPDATE March 20 – San Francisco supes voted in the e-cig regulations. Read more.

March 7 – SAN FRANCISCO, Mar. 6th – We were heavily outgunned at the SF Supes’ hearings on the e-cig ban, but won some concessions for medical marijuana.

The bill’s sponsor, Eric Mar, invited a slew of witnesses to give lengthy presentations, including two members of the Dept of Public Health, Stanton Glantz and fellow UCSF researchers, the head of the SF Board of Eucation, and the Tobacco-Free Coalition. Also in support of the bill were: The American Heart Association, the Amercian Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the SF Small Business Commission (why?), the SF School District, SF for Non-Smokers Rights, and several youth organizations.

The sixty public speakers, including our Cal NORML delegation and CASAA rep Bill Michael Barger, were given just a minute each to speak. We were deep into the hearing before the first public speaker, David Goldman for Cal NORML, voiced opposition to the bill, decrying its impact on medical cannabis patients. Sup. Mar replied that the ordinance was not aimed at medical marijuana, but rather tobacco, and that it would only apply to devices that mimic cigarettes, thus excluding bulkier vaporizers. This wasn’t fully evident from the wording of the bill, but was confirmed by the City Attorney.

Due to the time limits, I had to restrict myself to marijuana and forego discussing the scientific data on nicotine e-cigs, in particular the Burstyn review, which found that all of the alleged toxins in nicotine e-cig vapor are present in trace concentrations less than 1% – 5% of the accepted levels for workplace exposure, and thus present zero heath hazard to bystanders. This crucial point was never brought up in the hearings. Instead, the witnesses dwelt at length on the marketing machinations of the tobacco companies and the enormous surge in popularity of e-cigs among kids.

The tone of the discussion was set by Tomas Aragon of the SF Health Dept, who referring to the tobacco industry as zombies come back from the dead, warned not to be swayed by the harm reduction argument, declaring the real issue is “Will we let the zombie industry promote nicotine addiction to our kids?” This appeared to be the overwhelming sentiment of the crowd, despite testimony from our delegation of cannabis advocates (Cal NORML, SSDP and ASA) about the impact on medical cannabis patients. A handful of e-cig sellers and users also spoke up. At the end, the vote was 3-0, with Sup. Norman Yee putting in a word to Sup. Mar to make sure that medical marijuana was protected. I expect the full Board to concur [when they vote on the 20th].

Sorry not to have better news, but it’s hard to argue against the entire public health establishment. I just wish they would take a more honest look at the evidence.

– Dale Gieringer

March 4 – The Rules Committee of the SF Supervisors is set to have a hearing on an an e-cigarette ban on March 6. Read more.

The LA City Council unanimously approved e-cigarette restrictions on March 4.

February 25 – An L.A. council panel has backed limits on e-cigarettes – the city council is to vote on an ordinance next week.

February 13, 2014 – Lawmakers in San Francisco and Los Angeles are considering legislation to ban the use of smokeless e-cigarettes and vaporizers wherever smoking is banned – including many outdoor locations. Although advocates claim to be targeting tobacco use, e-cigs are broadly defined in the law so as to include cannabis vaporizers. Legislative hearings are expected shortly.

VAPERS – STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS! Medical marijuana users shouldn‚t be forced to vape outside with smokers. Decisions about e-cig use should rightly be made by the parties concerned – landlords and tenants, businesses and employees – not by inflexible government regulations.

DON’T LET INTOLERANT EXTREMISTS BLOW SMOKE ABOUT VAPES! The fact is that vaporizors protect public health by drastically reducing exposure to harmful smoke toxins. Scientific studies show that vaporizers:

– Eliminate harmful tars, particulates, and carcinogens that are the primary cause of smoking-related disease.
– Do NOT expose bystanders to harmful levels of second-hand toxins (such trace emissions as have been detected are well beneath accepted safe exposure thresholds, no worse than common household odors from kitchen grills, detergents, garden plants or ambient pollution).
– Have been found to be a „safe and effective‰ method for administering medical marijuana by the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.
– Are an effective harm reduction substitute that has helped countless users give up smoking entirely.


SAN FRANCISCO. The Neighborhood Services Committee will be hearing a bill to ban e-cigs in non-smoking areas, tentatively scheduled for March 6 at 10 am. Comments should be directed to committee members:

Sup. Eric Mar (415) 554-7410 [email protected]
Sup. David Campos (415) 554-5144 [email protected]
Sup. Norman Yee (415) 554-6516 [email protected]

LOS ANGELES. The Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee is expected to hold hearings on an e-cig ban shortly (perhaps Feb 24). Read more.

Committee members:

Mitch O’Farrell, Chair 213-473-7013 [email protected]
Tom LaBonge (213) 485-3337 [email protected]
Joe Buscaino 213-473-7015 [email protected]
Gilbert Cedillo 213-473-7001 [email protected]
Curren D. Price 213 473-7009 [email protected]

Cal NORML Opposes Bans on Smokeless E-Cigs and Vaporizers (Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association)
The Ultimate List of Studies on E-Cigs and Their Safety
Scientific review finds no evidence e-cig vapor poses harm to users or nonusers.

Release by: Dale Gieringer, Director
California NORML (510) 540-1066
2261 Market St #278A, San Francisco CA 94114

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