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Baltimore City Council Approves Electronic Cigarette Ban

Baltimore has officially joined the growing list of cities and towns that have established vaping bans. The vapor debate in Baltimore came on rather quickly. The new ordinance only made headlines for a couple of weeks before being written into law. While vapers in the city are likely upset, the City Council itself voted 12 -2 in favor of the ban. Now, only the Mayor of Baltimore can weigh in with a veto, but that does not seem likely.

no vaping signAs has become the trend the City of Baltimore opted to lump e cigarettes in with tobacco cigarettes. They are no longer allowed in businesses or public buildings. The exception being vape shops and restaurants and bars that openly state that they allow vapor. In a new twist for an e cigarette ban, Baltimore is requiring vapor friendly bars and restaurants to post signs specifying that they allow vaping and for the same message to be written on menus. That is an addendum that we have not seen in other cities, with there being no real benefit to the practice in our eyes. E cigarettes are also subject to age limits and must be kept behind the counter at retail establishments. For the most part this ban mirrors many of the others that we have seen written in to law around the nation.

It was pushed through the City Council, along with a ban on plastic bags and a stipulation that police officers must wear body cameras while on duty. The mayor is expected to quickly veto these other new initiatives, but has already expressed an interest in restricting vapor. At least we did not see a local tax on e cigarettes. It is likely a matter of time before individual cities start adding them into ban proposals, but is not commonplace yet.

The number of local governments enacting vapor bans is quickly becoming alarming. With the FDA still poised to provide federal laws, which would technically supersede anything done at the local level, it is surprising to see more and more cities jump on the bandwagon. Logic would dictate that they may enact age limits, but would otherwise wait on a ruling from the FDA. While it may seem safe to have a preliminary set of restrictions on e cigarettes, these ordinances will likely be difficult to amend down the road. With the amount of research that is being done on the effects of electronic cigarettes on our bodies, future findings may reveal that vapor got a bum rap. If the medical community does wind up largely endorsing vapor as a harm reduction option that is considerably better than smoking, these laws may have already taken their toll. As this is outcome has a high probability of becoming a reality, we hate seeing these bans continue to pop up. If there is a vapor ban being discussed by your City Council, we implore you to get involved. Attend the hearings and meetings, and share the benefits of vapor with your local lawmakers. Many of them may only have headlines developed by those who do not care for vaping to use when deciding how they will vote. Your voice may just be the one that helps to bring about commonsense laws and ordinances.

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