Tempe OKs ban on e-cigarettes

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TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

If you "vape" or use electronic cigarettes, you may soon be asked to take it outside in the City of Tempe.

Tempe City Council voted 5-1 to ban electronic cigarettes from public places like restaurants and bars Thursday night.

Arizona has a similar statewide smoking ban but Attorney General Tom Horne said the statute does not include e-cigarettes.

"You light up tobacco, that's part of the statute, it's something that's lit," Horne said. "The e-cigarettes simply heat up an element that releases nicotine."

State Health Director, WIll Humble told CBS 5 News there should be more studies done on the products but he doesn't have a problem with electronic cigarettes and views them as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco.

Supporters of Tempe's ban include the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Arizona Public Health Association, among others. Christian Stumpf represents the American Lung Association in Arizona, he says Tempe's e-ban is a victory for the state.

"Nobody knows the short or long term health consequences of these," Stumpf said. "We're telling everyone to be careful."

Electronic cigarettes are relatively new products and there haven't been extensive studies published on the side effects of using the vapors. Lee Phemister owns Synergy Vapor Labs, a Tempe vapor shop, and believes the Tempe ban on e-cigarettes promotes "fear mongering."

"Removing the choice of the business owner and putting in bans and regulations for something they don't understand seems a little premature," Phemister said.

The sale and use of electronic cigarettes in a private home will not be affected by the recent ban, which goes into effect in September.

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