A public ban on vaping is going forward in Kittitas Co., WA, and may go into effect in the near future.
The ban would be much like the ban on smoking in public places that is already in place for cigars and cigarettes, and would preclude smoking in businesses such as bars, restaurants, gas stations, and stores. The ban was supported by the local Board of Health.
There was an issue over whether or not the ban should apply to vape shops, and what, exactly, could be considered a vape shop. This is because their are many small stores or gas stations which sell e-cigarettes and vaping products, but not exclusively.
The draft ordinance that is going forward did intend to apply the ban to vape shops, however, though that may change. If the ban ends up applying to vape shops, the Board of Health would have to come up with a specific defination of what exactly constitues a vape shop. The goal of the ban is to decrease the use of e-cigarettes by minors.
A local survey done in Kittitas County had discovered that seventeen percent of tenth graders had admitted to vaping within the last month, and vaping among minors is on the rise in the rest of the US. Board members asked that the ban specifically not allow individuals under the age of 18 to enter vaping shops.
As of right now, it is legal for them to go inside and even purchase the liquid to refill e-cigarettes. The Kittitas County Board of Health also said there there were vape shops who were specifically marketing their products to minors. E-cigarettes have not been around long enough for doctors and other health professionals to say for sure what, if any, long term health effects could be linked to the use of e-cigarettes. There have yet to be any conclusive studies done on the subject.
Opponents of the ban argued that the ban would be detrimental to those who were trying quit using cigarettes or other nicotine products. They said that while it is not a recognized smoking cessation aid, that many people who begin vaping cut back on, or even quit their use of nicotine, and that while it may or may not be healthy, it is much better than smoking. It was also argued that vape shops are a place for individuals who are trying quit smoking tobacco to meet other like-minded individuals.
Vape shop owners and employees argued that the ban was unnecessary and would not allow them to give the customers the full experience that their businesses strive to provide.