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SF Supervisor Wants E-Cigarettes Regulated Like Other Tobacco Products

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In this photo illustration a woman smokes an electronic cigarette. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

In this photo illustration a woman smokes an electronic cigarette. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar planned to introduce legislation Monday to regulate the use and sale of electronic-cigarettes in the city.

The legislation would restrict the sale and use of e-cigarettes in the same way as other tobacco products, such as where they can be smoked and only sold to those 18 and over.

“E-cigarettes is the Wild West right now.  It’s totally unregulated,” said Mar.

He said his daughter even complains about classmates using e-cigarettes, and he worries where that might end.  “If people are smoking in schools, when teachers turn their backs, or in movie theaters or other places, it could lead to hooking a new generation, which is I think what the tobacco companies are trying to do,” Mar said.

Dr. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Center Research and Education at UCSF, said the vapors emitted by e-cigarettes are harmful to health and the environment.

“We’ve cleaned up the indoor air from tobacco smoke in San Francisco,” he said.  “And we don’t want to re-pollute it again with e-cigarette aerosol.”

E-cigarettes are battery powered devices which simulate tobacco smoking by vaporizing a liquid solution which may or may not contain nicotine. They are promoted as having fewer toxic effects than regular cigarettes but their long-term safety risks are unknown.

Other cities across the country have already adopted similar policies, including Seattle, New York, Boston and Chicago – in the Bay Area, Richmond and Contra Costa County.

A full board vote on the legislation would likely happen within the month.

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