OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Oceanside is moving forward with a ban on electronic cigarettes after the City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to prohibit e-cigs wherever regular smoking is banned, such as restaurants, parks and beaches.
“Business has been terrific,” said Fabi Ramsey, who opened the Feels Good Vapor e-cig lounge with her husband about six months ago. According to Ramsey, most people go into the lounge looking to kick the habit.
“The majority of our customers are coming in because they want to quit smoking. It’s just plain and simple,” said Ramsey.
She says smoking, or vaping, and e-cig is healthier than smoking the real thing and she’s frustrated about the new restrictions.
“You create a negative perception as opposed to a positive perception. All the people in here using e-cigs aren’t outside smoking. If they’re using e-cigs, they’re not using cigarettes,” said Ramsey.
Supporters of the ban pushed the city to adopt a vapor-free policy to protect residents from so-called “secondhand aerosol exposure” — claiming e-cigs emit nicotine levels similar to secondhand smoke.
They also feel kids have had easy access to e-cigs.
“We’ve done assessments of stores in Oceanside — about half have self-service displays. If you’ve got a clerk in there not paying attention, kids can grab it and out the door they walk. So if they had it behind the counter, locked up then that would be a great way to keep them out of the hands of kids. We’re hoping they go in that direction,” said Gena Knutson with Vista Community Clinic’s Tobacco Control Programs.
The ban also prevents minors from going into e-cig shops, unless they’re with a parent or guardian.
“I think most people in the industry are proactive about keeping these out of the hands of children. It doesn’t benefit anybody to have kids using electronic cigarettes,” added Ramsey.