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E-cigarettes banned at San Diego County Fair

DEL MAR — Electronic cigarettes and other similar devices will not be allowed at the upcoming San Diego County Fair, which begins June 7, after the governing board of the Del Mar Fairgrounds voted 6-0 at its March 11 meeting to include them in a no-smoking policy.

After a multiyear phase-out plan, the annual event became smoke-free in 2013.

Those who lobbied for the change lauded the 22nd District Agricultural Association for banning tobacco use but said electronic cigarettes were still a problem.

The battery-powered vaporizers, also called electronic nicotine delivery systems, simulate smoking. A heating element vaporizes liquid solutions that contain nicotine, flavorings, both or one of the two.

Law enforcement officials and health and prevention experts say they are also used to inhale illegal substances.

Nancy Logan told board members when she bought a device for demonstration purposes, she was told it was “strictly for marijuana use.”

There are few studies on the effects of e-cigarettes on users or bystanders but at least one found some potentially harmful compounds are present in the vapors.

Ray McEdward, a La Mesa resident and lifelong asthmatic, said he avoided the county fair until last year because of tobacco smoke.

But while waiting in a food line the person in front of him lit up an e-cig, as they are known. McEdward said he had to use his rescue inhaler and then he and his wife left the fair early.

He said the devices “are not the harmless items everybody thinks they are.”

“Who knows what’s in this vapor?” McEdward asked. “If smokers can go eight-plus hours on a cross-country flight, why can’t they attend the fair for six hours without an e-cigarette?”

All 10 speakers at the meeting urged the board to add e-cigs and other similar devices to the list of banned smoking items at the fair. Many cited an increase in their use by young people.

Barbara Gordon, from the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth, said they are perceived by youth as “safe and exciting.”

“We do not want to re-glamorize smoking again,” she said.

Her colleague Judi Strang said the industry is targeting youth with products such as cotton candy flavorings and pink cases. She also said there is “anecdotal evidence” that the devices help smokers quit the habit, but “research doesn’t yet show” they are a successful cessation method.

Board members voted 6-0 to ban the use of e-cigs and all similar electronic vaping devices that simulate smoking during the fair only, but not the horse races or other fairgrounds events.

Directors wanted the language to be as all inclusive as possible and applied wording similar to what was used earlier in the day when the County Board of Supervisors opted to restrict e-cig use.

Director Adam Day said the 22nd DAA set a “great standard” by becoming the first county fair in the state to ban smoking. “E-cigs weren’t on our radar when we did that,” he said, adding that allowing the devices would send “the wrong message to our youth.”

He also cited safety reasons for security personnel for incorporating electronic smoking devices into the no-smoking policy.

Director David Watson said “it would be totally confusing” for enforcement officials if they weren’t included.

I would feel sorry for personnel trying to distinguish between the two, Watson said.



Greg March 28, 2014 at 1:36 am

“If smokers can go eight-plus hours on a cross-country flight, why can’t they attend the fair for six hours without an e-cigarette?”

Perhaps they would stay 8 to 12 hours if e-cigarette were allowed and spend more money.

Greg March 28, 2014 at 1:29 am

“But while waiting in a food line the person in front of him lit up an e-cig, as they are known. McEdward said he had to use his rescue inhaler and then he and his wife left the fair early.”

With what did the person lite it with? Matches or lighter?

Eliotz May 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Anyone who has experienced vapor knows this is highly unlikely. Vapor dissipates so quickly that this becomes impossible without making an effort. My 25 year old son used a vapor device heavily in a closed car with me for better than 4 hours and I couldn’t even smell it when the vapor went right in front of my face! Water particles are exponentially heavier than smoke particles and dissipate extremely rapidly even in higher humidities. Nearly instantaneously in humidities under 50%. One of the few official tests done on e-vapor proved that 97% of nicotine or other potential chemicals from vapor were not present in exhaled vapor, and um-inhaled vapor dropped in altitude at a rate of 13 inches per square foot, and dissipated at a rate of 87% over that same distance, making it nearly impossible to even inhale the water vapor “second hand vapor” without making an effort to do so.

jeremy trudeau March 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Walking around the fair surrounded by bbqs, wood pits, and wood fired grills producing carcinogen laced smoke didn’t trigger his asthma? It was an e-cig which uses propylene glycol as the main ingredient caused it? Yeah right. Propylene glycol is used in asthma medicine. Another hypochondriac and dimwitted public officials that are doing more harm. I don’t understand their logic. They have fog machines on the kiddy rides that billow out the same stuff as e cigs.

Mark W March 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm

More nonsense about e-cigarettes. No wonder that they’ve been banned with junk like this on the internet.

“We do not want to re-glamorize smoking again,” she said.

It’s not smoking.

“There are few studies on the effects of e-cigarettes on users or bystanders but at least one found some potentially harmful compounds are present in the vapors.”

Not at an even remotely harmful level. There are harmful compounds in nearly everything, so this is not at all relevant.

When you find some science to back up these stupid claims then please post another article, in the meantime let ex-smokers live their lives without the fear of horrible diseases, face facts – some people struggle to quit, whether or not this offends you, e-cigarettes will save thousands of lives. Clearly though, you’d rather they died because they have a bad habit that you don’t approve of.

Robert Copia March 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

At age 62, I have been a smoker since 6th grade. It was a part of our culture. Since my aunt’s passing in 2003, due to lung cancer caused by her smoking, I tried hard to quit. Nicotine gum helped me cut down but any kind of stress and I was back to compulsive smoking. I took the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN for two days. It made me feel very strange. Three and one half years ago, I used my first e-cig and I have been tobacco free ever since. My health has improved drastically. No coughing, The shortness of breath when climbing stairs is 90% gone. I still use the ecig and have no desire to use tobacco. I am considering going into the ecig business and I have started reading the ecig news. Banning, crackdowns, fears ,concerns, questions, gateway, fears, harming children is all that I read..
Hysteria over a “personal nicotine vaporizer”??? A small lithium battery,( lithium batteries power cellphones, laptop computers, pacemakers equipment on jet airliners etc.,) heats an element that turns nicotine liquid ( consisting of nicotine the same as in the nicotine gum paid for by Medicare and Medicaid, and food grade flavorings, in a base of propylene glycol which is rated GRAS, generally regarded as safe) in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, section 184-1666, and is found in many food products, asthma inhalers, the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN, toothpaste etc,) into vapor like your tea kettle.
I was awakened by the Bloomberg, 2/19/2014, article, “ GLAXO Memo Shows Drug Industry Lobbying on E-Cigarettes”. Glaxo-Smith Kline is the 4th largest Pharma company and it sells nicotine gum, lozenges, patches inhalers and the anti-smoking drug ZYBAN which I learned was actually the mind-altering psychiatric drug Wellbutrin. I then went on to read the Forbes 7/2/2012, article, “Feds Say Dr. Drew Was Paid by GLAXO TO Talk Up Antidepressant” Forbes in included a link to the 72 page Justice Department complaint against GLAXO which involved the illegal, deceptive and fraudulent marketing of antidepressants to children and adolescents. through their Doctors.
New York Times 7?2/2012, GLAXO Agrees To Pay THREE BILLION Fraud Settlement ( and pleads guilty to criminal charges). after a ten year investigation started by “whistle blowers”.
The New York Times, 12/14/2013, “The Selling of ADHD,( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) documents the depths that Pharma will go to sell their drugs to children and adolescents through their Doctors..
I once considered myself well-informed but until reading this material, I had no idea of the actions of BIG PHARMA, which I consider the “Crime of the Century” I encourage you to read this material.
It is conceivable that the ecig could make nicotine gum, patches inhalers etc. and the mind altering psychiatric anti-smoking drugs (GLAXO is working on a new one GSK598809) obsolete, or at minimum reduce the sales. Big Pharma and the politicians that do their bidding agree that this cannot be allowed.
Who is harmed by this? Those who are near hopelessly addicted to cigarettes and the thousands of dangerous chemicals they contain. This propaganda campaign by Big Pharma and the politicians that they control is simply meant to scare people especially the elderly and dissuade them from trying a “personal nicotine vaporizer”
Take the anti-smoking drugs?? Read the black box warnings. Would you recommend them to your mother?

Eliotz May 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Robert, I am 55 years old and intended to write a comment until I read yours where you have stated my exact experience, opinion and observations. The only thing I have to add is that in addition to big Pharma, I find it odd that you do not see tobacco brand vapors on the market, which would indicate that they have taken an opposing position to Vapor, and likely thrown a hefty lobby investment to add to that of Big PHARMA. Hence, a losing battle in any city or county council, state legislature or even federal committee. You and I know that vapor is the last hope for many die-hard smokers and it CAN save their lives. These people who claim to be saving others from “second hand vapor” and other ridiculous propaganda, are literally killing others like you and I with their socialist agenda.

Norm Bour (@normbour) March 17, 2014 at 10:30 am

Disappointing decision but not unexpected. I am an Industry Adviser in the Vape Space and I see many agencies and cities following the “leader” not based on FACTS, but based on pattern. The copy catting is noteworthy in one city after another following the lead of many large cities, but generally there is no study done and the decision is based on CYA. It’s a shame.

For anyone that REALLY wants to know, there are studies and facts that share the positive benefits of e-cigs and vaping and if it were decided based on pure facts and statistics the decisions would be different. I’d be happy to share some of this information to any governing body that wants to listen and learn. Any takers?

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