“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.”
The National Park Services is now banning the use of e-cigarettes along with the common cigarette in park areas where traditional smoking area bans are in place. The directive was issued last Thursday but a memo was circulated earlier through all park personnel about the impending ban.
The memo explains that the ban is being issued “out of an abundance of caution in light of the scientific findings and uncertainty to date, and in the interest of equity.”
And further to “protect employees and park visitors from the health hazards and annoyances associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, commonly known as secondhand smoke, which is a known human carcinogen,”
But Gregory Conley, the leader of the American Vaping Association trade group was not happy with the National Park Service’s approach.
“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”, defends Conley.
The ban will be effected to any government leased or own vehicles- including but not limited to aircrafts, watercraft and heavy equipment. E-cigarettes will also be banned within the national park buildings and concession areas.
The health benefits– or if there is any– of e-cigarettes are still for debate among experts as many studies covering different perspectives have varied paths for recommendation.