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(a) Electronic smoking devices, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that may resemble cigarettes, although they do not contain tobacco leaf. People who use electronic smoking devices inhale vaporized liquid nicotine extracted from tobacco, or inhale other vaporized liquids, created by heat through an electronic ignition system, and exhale the vapor in a way that mimics smoking.
(b) Electronic cigarettes are presently available for purchase and use in San Francisco.
(c) The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Compliance purchased two samples of electronic cigarettes and components from two leading brands. These samples included 18 of the various flavored, nicotine, and no-nicotine cartridges offered for use with these products. These cartridges were obtained to test some of the ingredients contained in them and inhaled by users of electronic cigarettes. The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) analyzed the cartridges from these electronic cigarettes for nicotine content and for the presence of other tobacco constituents, some of which are known to be harmful to humans, including those that are potentially carcinogenic or mutagenic. The DPA's analysis of the electronic cigarette samples showed:
(1) The products contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could be exposed.
(2) Quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent.
(3) Tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans – anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine – were detected in a majority of the samples tested.
(4) Three different electronic cigarette cartridges with the same label were tested and each cartridge emitted a markedly different amount of nicotine with each puff. The nicotine levels per puff ranged from 26.8 to 43.2 mcg nicotine/100 mL puff.
(d) The Surgeon General has found that the chemical nicotine is a powerful pharmacologic agent that acts in the brain and throughout the body and is highly addictive. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin and is a highly toxic substance. Use of nicotine in any form may cause or contribute to cardiovascular disease, complications of hypertension, reproductive disorders, cancers of many types, and gastrointestinal disorders, including peptic ulcer disease and gastro esophageal reflux.
(e) The FDA has raised concerns that electronic cigarettes, including but not limited to flavored electronic cigarettes, can increase nicotine addiction among young people and may lead youth to try conventional tobacco products. A CDC study showed that in 2011 4.7% of all high schoolers had tried e-cigarettes and that in 2012 that number increased to 10.0% of all high schoolers. Electronic cigarettes may not be legally sold to minors in California. Electronic smoking devices and other unapproved nicotine delivery products have a high appeal to youth due to their high tech design and availability in child-friendly flavors like cotton candy, bubble gum, chocolate chip cookie dough and cookies and cream milkshake.
(f) Health authorities have also expressed concerns that the vapors released into the air through the use of an electronic cigarette present a danger to others who breathe them.
(g) The use of an electronic cigarette in public is often indistinguishable from the use of traditional tobacco products, prompting confusion among members of the public wherever smoking is prohibited. Consequently, persons who smoke traditional tobacco products may be induced to do so in areas where smoking is illegal under the mistaken belief that smoking is legal in such areas, or that the ban on smoking in such areas is not being enforced.
(h) Owners of establishments such as office buildings and restaurants encounter similar obstacles seeking to comply with the laws prohibiting smoking in certain locations. An owner may request that a patron stop smoking cigarettes in a restaurant only to have the patron demonstrate that it is an electronic cigarette. The Owner may also be placed in the position of having to confront and examine the cigarettes of any number of customers absent a prohibition on the use of electronic cigarettes where traditional cigarettes are banned.
(i) The agencies charged with enforcing compliance in enclosed and unenclosed spaces will similarly have to devote considerable time and resources determining the individuals smoking electronic cigarettes versus traditional cigarettes.
(j) Some agencies in San Francisco have already adopted restrictions on e-cigarette usage including San Francisco General Hospital, Laguna Honda Hospital, AT&T Ballpark, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco International Airport.
(Added by Ord. 30-14, File No. 131208, App. 3/27/2014, Eff. 4/26/2014)