Herald American

Downey acts to ban e-cigarettes in parks

DOWNEY — It will be illegal to use electronic cigarettes in city parks under an ordinance introduced June 13. A second law would make it illegal to urinate or defecate on public streets and alleys.

Both laws will take effect 30 days after a final reading, expected at the next council meeting June 27.

Electronic cigarettes are hollow, cyilinder-shaped devices with a battery to heat nicotine or other smoking substance.

Supporters say users inhale vapors, not nicotine, which helps stop tobacco use. However, they can be abused by youths and the federal Food and Drug Administration has regulated them and made them illegal for those under 18, said Pamela J. Passow, director of parks and recreation in a report to the council.

She said the ordinance will treat electronic cigarettes the same as tobacco, making them illegal in all public parks and buildings.

Action on the ordinance was delayed May 23 when the council decided to remove a clause which allows tobacco use in designated locations at parks.

Under the revised law, tobacco and vaporizing would be illegal throughout the park unless there was a civic celebration, Passow said.

She added that the ordinance is compatible with Proposition 64, the voter-approved use of recreational marijuana, as that law also forbids smoking the substance in city parks or public places and cannot be used by those under 18.

The second ordinance stems from increased finding of human wastes on public streets and in alleys. It is currently not specifically prohibited and poses a health hazard, City Attorney Yvette M. Abich said.

In other action June 13, the council directed city staff to seek bids for a public art project on a 250-foot long strip of city land along the south side of Firestone Boulevard west of Paramount Boulevard.

The artwork, with landscaping and lighting, is estimated to cost $170,000, Assistant City Manager John Oskoui said.

He said the strip was left over from a recent project to widen the right-turn lane on eastbound Firestone at Paramount.