The city of Richmond, which already has strong smoking regulations, may add using electronic cigarettes to its list of banned behaviors during a vote scheduled for Tuesday.
Right now, it is illegal to smoke cigarettes in public places, including sidewalks and streets, as well as apartment complexes. But there are no laws about where you can use electronic cigarettes, also known as vapor cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes are designed to look and taste like conventional cigarettes. They are battery-powered devices that contain nicotine and other additives, but reportedly produce vapor instead of smoke.
The Centers for Disease Control has not done significant testing on the product and has not determined that electronic cigarettes are significantly more or less unhealthy than regular cigarettes, but they are growing in popularity.
Between 2011 and 2012, the use of electronic cigarettes among students grades 6 to 12 increased from 3.3 percent to 6.8 percent, according to the CDS. During that same time period, the CDC estimates that 1.78 million students used electronic cigarettes, but they had never used conventional cigarettes.
The CDC even recently changed its definition of tobacco use to include electronic cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes were banned on University of California campuses earlier this month, and New York City and Chicago are considering a similar proposal.