Vaping Is Now Banned In America’s National Parks
All packed and ready to go on your next trip to one of America’s breathtaking national parks? Well, you need to leave your e-cigarette behind in your car.
Effective immediately, the National Park Service has placed a ban on the use of “electronic smoking devices,” which includes all types of vaping devices, in places where combustible cigarette smoking is already prohibited in all of America’s 408 national parks.
“Protecting the health and safety of our visitors and employees is one of the most critical duties of the National Park Service,” explained Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in his statement regarding the new ban as reported by U.S. News & World Report.
“We are therefore extending the restrictions currently in place protecting visitors and employees from exposure to tobacco smoke to include exposure to vapor from electronic smoking devices.”
Under this new ban, e-cigarettes and all other types of vaping devices cannot be used in all facilities and vehicles that are owned or leased by the government or within national park concessions facilities. There is no word yet whether signage will be updated, but currently all no smoking signage also now means no vaping is allowed either.
All employees of the National Park Service were informed last week of the upcoming ban in a memo that mentions disputed reports on the risks of secondhand vaping and e-cig vapor containing formaldehyde and other toxic elements. The memo stated that the new policy was introduced as a cautious approach to the uncertain scientific findings that have been published on vaping thus far.
This decision updates the National Park Service’s 2003 policy that had placed a ban on smoking inside government owned buildings and vehicles; it also gave park superintendents the ability to stop park patrons from smoking anywhere inside the park. It is noted though that it is okay to smoke in parking lots and sidewalks.
Since 2003 park superintendents were able to stop patrons from smoking outdoors under the pretense that they are trying to prevent forest fires from occurring. With this new ban, this logic now also includes electronic cigarettes, even though there is a very minimal risk of starting a fire with an e-cig.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association group disagrees with the new policy stating, “ Outdoor smoking bans in parks can at least somewhat be justified by the risk of fires, but vapor products pose no more of a fire risk than a cellphone battery. This behavior is shameful and any enforcement of the ban will constitute a great misuse of government resources. The National Park Service should leave ex-smokers alone and let them camp and hike in peace.”