Since vaporizers first hit the market, there has been much debate around how vaping should be regulated. Determining where you can and can’t vape was included in this debate from the beginning. And depending on a person’s view of vaping, it left a lot of room for interpretation. Nowadays, however, there are clearer definitions for “e-cigarettes” and where it is appropriate, or legal, to vape. Although the answer depends on what country, state, and city you live in, there are a few general rules you can follow as well.
Vaping was initially viewed to be the same as smoking cigarettes and therefore subject to the same public regulations. Although some places in the United States have since created specific regulations for vaping, thinking about where you can and can’t smoke cigarettes is a good general rule to follow. With that in mind, you typically have the most free reign over vaping in private versus public spaces.
Before you pull out your vape and start blowing big clouds in a private residence though, you should pause and consider a few things. First, is it your private home or someone else's? If the space is completely yours and completely private, then you get to call the shots when it comes to vaping. However, if you are in a space that is not yours or not private, then that makes things a little trickier.
This leads us to our next question -- is the private residence owned or rented? Again, if you own the space, then you might want to take a look at the rental agreement. Since vaping nicotine is often seen the same as smoking cigarettes, you could be on the hook for fees related to violating the terms of the rental agreement.
Even if it is determined to be okay to vape in a private residence, you should also ask yourself who else shares this space? Is it just you, or do you have roommates or family to consider? Did you invite friends over? Are there children or pets hanging around? These questions should lead you to carefully consider if everyone in your immediate surrounding is comfortable with you vaping.
The final question to ask yourself is, what are you vaping? Although vapor does not permeate clothing and furniture like tobacco smoke, you can end up filling an indoor space with plenty of clouds. These clouds have an initial scent, whether you are vaping nicotine e-liquid, flavored e-liquid, CBD oil, dry herb vaporizer, or wax concentrates. Sometimes that scent can still be overwhelming to other people or pets. So, if you have the all-clear to vape in the space, it is always a good idea to air it out afterward.
Although a private vehicle can be seen as a private space, there are still regulations around smoking and driving. There are many states and countries that do not allow you to smoke while driving a vehicle with minors present. With that in mind, it is not recommended to drive and vape in front of anyone not old enough to purchase vape pen products where you are driving.
But even if you are driving by yourself, you should pause and consider some additional factors before vaping. If you vape an e-liquid with a high ratio of vegetable glycerin (VG), then your vape will leave behind massive clouds of vapor. These clouds can obscure your vision, if just momentarily, and put you in danger. Be sure to crack a window or two so that the cloud build-up in your car does not become a danger to you or the cars on the road.
Also, you should consider what kind of product you are vaping, your tolerance for it, and the side effects of vaping too much. If too much nicotine or CBD will impair your ability to drive, it is best to put the vape down. Also, if you have a dripping setup on your vape, do not drip and drive. Multitasking can lead to accidents and it is always better to be safe than sorry when operating a vehicle.
When it comes to public spaces, your ability to vape openly becomes more limited. As mentioned before, vaping is often subject to the same rules and regulations as smoking cigarettes. This can include being at least 25 feet away from a business, not smoking indoors, and only smoking in designated areas. It is best to always ask before you vape in public, so that you are not subject to a fine or getting kicked out of a place for vaping once.
It is generally best to assume that you cannot vape in any indoor spaces that you do not own. Smoking is long-since banned in most restaurants, businesses, and shared public spaces in the United States. Although not all businesses have specific regulations for vaping, you can usually assume that it is subject to the same regulations as smoking tobacco. If not, then just ask! If you are in an enclosed space such as a restaurant, concert hall, store, or movie theater then it is best to assume that you cannot vape. There are many reasons and regulations for not vaping or smoking indoors, but common courtesy is a good place to start. Clouds of vapor can carry an initial scent and can block the view of those around you. This can then inhibit the experience of other customers, concert attendees, movie viewers, etc. and negatively impact the business you are frequenting.
Hotels rooms and vacation rentals fall under a whole different set of standards when it comes to smoking and vaping too. If smoking is not allowed in your room or in shared hotel spaces, it’s best to assume that vaping isn’t allowed either. Clouds of smoke or vapor can set off alarms and travel through shared air vents to other guest rooms. Even though the vapor clouds won’t stick around for long, you may still be subject to additional cleaning fees if a staff member sees you vaping in non-designated smoking areas. When you check-in or make your reservation, just be sure to ask if it is a smoke-free property and/or where it is alright to vape.
Open-air public space can be a bit more confusing in regards to vaping regulations though. If you are in a restaurant or bar with open-air seating, you cannot assume that vaping is sanctioned. Be sure to ask the manager first before blowing big clouds into the air. The restaurant or bar could face serious consequences for allowing a customer to smoke or vape where it isn’t allowed. It’s sometimes easiest to just excuse yourself from the table and step outside for a vape break to avoid any potential backlash.
Speaking of open-air space, when it comes to hiking trails it is a little easier to vape where you please. With fresh open-air surrounding you, vapor can easily dissipate quickly. However, you should still consider those around you and the regulations of the open-air space you are visiting. Oftentimes, city and state parks are smoke-free spaces and there will be signs posted informing visitors about this regulation. Even if you don’t see a sign though, you should still consider if the area you are in is crowded with other visitors. If you are hiking along a trail and blowing clouds of vapor in the direction of hikers behind you, that could put a damper on their experience. It’s always best to be mindful of those in your surroundings and be considerate about when you vape.
It is safe to assume that most schools and university campuses are smoke-free, and therefore vapor-free. Smoking or vaping in the presence of a minor can lead to fines or greater legal action. Even if you are on a university campus surrounded by adults though, vaping is most likely banned in all indoor spaces. If you vape in your dorm room, you may be subject to fees or more extreme consequences. It is also often discouraged on many open-air campuses, alongside smoking.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to vaping is to pause and evaluate your surroundings. Although it might not seem like a big deal to you, it might have a large impact on those surrounding you. And if you vape in a space where it is not allowed, it could lead to an even larger impact on you and your bank account. Be sure to check the local laws regulating vaping to see where it is legal to vape or smoke. Also, check in with those in your immediate surroundings or shared spaces before blowing big clouds of vapor. If you are unsure if it’s alright to vape in a space, just ask the person in charge! The worst they can say is no.
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