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Council halts permits for new e-cigarette retailers and tattoo parlors in Alhambra

Alhambra City Council voted unanimously Monday to temporarily stop the establishment and operation of new electronic cigarette retailers and tattoo parlors in the city. The moratoriums — which will go into effect immediately and last until Oct. 9, 2014 — will give the Planning Commission time to study how other cities regulate these businesses and to propose regulations to City Council, according to City Attorney Joseph Montes.

Stores currently selling e-cigarettes and the three tattoo parlors in Alhambra will not be affected, Councilman Luis Ayala emphasized. "This is something that we're doing temporarily until we find out what other information is out there," he said, adding that the city will be analyzing the businesses from a zoning perspective. "We're not taking a stance up here, infringing upon your rights to wear a tattoo or not."

Councilman Gary Yamauchi also mentioned Monday the need for more information on these types of businesses. Yamauchi, who abstained from voting on the ordinance during its first reading on Oct. 28 — agreed to halt permits for new e-cigarette retailers on the condition that City Council revisits the issue when the FDA releases studies about the smoking devices. 

"Personally I still don't have the evidence," Yamauchi said.

The moratorium on new e-cigarette retailers comes one month after City Council passed a separate ordinance prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces and works paces in Alhambra. While the devices are not regulated by the FDA, Alhambra City Council took a "proactive approach" to limit their use in the city's public areas, said Councilman Steven Placido earlier this month.

"We don't know if e-cigarettes are good or bad," Placido said. "We just want to make everyone safer."

Weren't able to attend the meeting? You can watch it here. City Council usually meets every second and fourth Monday of the month on the second floor of City Hall. The next meeting will be on Dec. 9 at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m.

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