The Untied States National Park Service already prohibits traditional smoking inside their buildings and in many outdoor location within their miles of land, but now vaping with an electronic cigarette will be added to the ban as well. The Park Service announced Monday that e-cigarettes can not be used anywhere traditional cigarettes are already prohibited.
Protecting the health and safety of our visitors and employees is one of the most critical duties of the National Park Service. 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 informed in a memo last week, that cited 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.
This policy will update their 2003 policy document that bans smoking inside National Park Service buildings and vehicles, and grants park superintendents the discretion to crack down on outdoor smoking in general as well. Generally, it is okay to smoke while in parking lots and walking on sidewalks.
That means that if a park superintendent decided to put an end to outdoor smoking, to prevent forest fires and the like, that means e-cigarettes would be banned along side the, despite the fact that there is minimal risk of starting a fire with an e-cig.
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.