Electronic cigarettes are following in the footsteps of their smoky predecessors, as they are becoming increasingly banned around the country. The issues creating the controversy about the e-cigs include the sketchy marketing targeted at the youth, the potential unknown risks and safety hazards, the lack of legislation blocking the selling of the product to minors, and other regulation issues.
Many states, cities, counties, school districts, and other entities have taken action against the electronic cigarette, but the information pertaining to each state, or entity, can get quite confusing. Some states have laws that restrict the use of e-cigs in 100 percent smoke-free venues. In Utah, New Jersey, and North Dakota the use of e-cigs is banned in these venues including: non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants, and bars. In North Dakota, they are also banned from gambling facilities. In Utah they are permitted in retailers’ places of business who sell the electronic cigarettes until July 1, 2017.
For other states the laws are even more specific. In Arkansas the product is banned from use on school district properties. In Colorado, tobacco products have been redefined to include e-cigarettes for the purpose of prohibiting them on school properties, unless it was approved by the FDA as a cessation device.
In the state of Delaware, e-cigarettes are prohibited from all state workplaces. This includes indoor and outdoor places, buildings, facilities and surrounding grounds, parking lots, and vehicles owned by the state, and operated on state workplace property. Hawaii has banned the product on all Department of Health properties and Maryland has banned them on their MARC commuter trains. New Hampshire prohibited the cigarettes in public educational facilities and their grounds. In Oklahoma, the product is not allowed in any Department of Corrections facilities, which includes grounds and vehicles. Oregon state employees are restricted from using them in state agency buildings and on the grounds next to the buildings. South Dakota prohibited their use in Department of Corrections facilities and the grounds, by employees and inmates.
In many states where there is no state law against e-cigarettes, local laws are increasingly banning them in 100 percent smoke-free venues, such as work places, restaurants, bars, and gambling facilities. Certain counties in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, New York, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia have bans in place.
In Coconino County, Arizona the electronic cigarette is banned in public places, but the ordinance only applies to unincorporated areas. Several cities in Texas have recently banned the product in certain places. This month, an ordinance was passed in Bedford that banned them in areas where smoking is already prohibited. Georgetown, Texas also banned the use of any electronic vaping device in public places, and areas that originally prohibited cigarettes. The new ordinance also bans the sale of the products to minors.
Other cities restricting the use of electronic cigarettes in public places include big cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. The ban in New York City got a reaction from Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH). The group recently filed a lawsuit aimed at overturning the city’s ban on e-cig use in public. The restriction in Philadelphia treats e-cigs just like regular cigarettes, including prohibiting the sale of them to minors. Los Angeles also joined the list of big cities with an e-cig ban. In L.A. the products are banned in public places, except vaping lounges and 21-and-over nightclubs and bars.
The ban is definitely catching on across the country, as the electronic cigarette is increasingly banned in a variety of places. Petco Park in San Diego does not allow the smoking of e-cigarettes inside the ballpark. A committee at Louisiana State University has voted to recommend e-cigs be banned from the campus. The banning trend will seemingly continue, as the electronic cigarette is treated more and more like traditional cigarettes, and legislation is worked out to regulate the product.
By Twanna Harps