By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Changes may soon be coming for those who smoke electronic cigarettes in the city of Philadelphia. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on the issue and the unknown potential health consequences of e-cigarettes.
Smoking electronic cigarettes in public places in the city of Philadelphia could soon be restricted. City Council is set to vote Thursday on whether to ban them in places like restaurants, bars and public parks, just like the current regular cigarette ban in the city.
“Right now electronic cigarettes are totally unregulated. There’s no regulations on them at all, and there are serious concerns raised by health officials of what is in this vapor,” said Bill Greenlee, (D) Philadelphia Councilman.
E-cigarettes deliver nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals to a user in the form of a vapor that’s inhaled. Doctors say more studies are needed to determine the health effects.
“We just think because of the concern and the sort of lack of knowledge of what’s in these products that we should keep them away from public spaces where other people might have problems with them,” said Greenlee.
“Tell the Philadelphia City Council you oppose the ban on e-cigs in public spaces now,” according to a Blue Cig radio commercial currently running in Philadelphia. Manufacturers claim they are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes and think restrictions are unfair.
“Some have expressed their opposition to council members. I’m quite confident we have enough votes to pass the bill, I think comfortably,” said Greenlee.
Some also argue e-cigarettes help people quit smoking; however, a new study shows smokers who use them aren’t more likely to quit or reduce cigarette use after a year.
And there’s some concern that e-cigs may lead young people to try other tobacco products. City council will also vote tomorrow on banning sales of the product to minors. If passed the e-cig ban would go in to effect July 1st.
The FDA plans to regulate electronic cigarettes and related products soon.
E-cigs are already banned in public places in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
For more information on FDA E-Cigarette, visit: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm225210.htm