National Park Service Bans The Use Of E-Cigarettes Anywhere Smoking Is Prohibited

The National Park Service already prohibits smoking inside its buildings and in many outdoor spots included in its many miles of landholdings, and now vaping with an e-cigarette will be banned as well: the agency announced Monday that e-cigs can’t be used anywhere traditional smoking is already prohibited.

National Park Service Director Jonathan Jervis announced the new policy, calling it a step to safeguard people’s health, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“Protecting the health and safety of our visitors and employees is one of the most critical duties of the National Park Service,” Jarvis said. “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.”

Park service employees were clued in last week, in a memo that cites disputed findings about the risks of secondhand vapor inhalation, and e-cigarettes emitting formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.

The new policy was introduced “out of an abundance of caution in light of the scientific findings and uncertainty to date, and in the interest of equity,” the memo to employees read.

It updates a 2003 policy document that bans smoking inside NPS buildings and vehicles, and gives park superintendents discretion to crack down on outdoor smoking as well. It’s generally okay to smoke in parking lots and sidewalks.

That means that if a park superintendent decided to put the kibosh on outdoor smoking to prevent forest fires, that would mean e-cigarettes would be banned as well, despite the fact that there likely is minimal risk of starting a fire with one of the vaping devices.

As one would expect, advocates of vaping are coming out against the new policy.

“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,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association trade group said. “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.”

Park Service Pinches E-Cig Use [U.S. News & World Report]

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