Several Montana counties are banning indoor vaping, by extending the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes.
The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act which went into effect in 2005, had banned smoking from indoor spaces with the exception of entertainment establishments such as bars. This ordinance was revised after a few years to enforce the ban across all businesses.
Now many health officials across the state are urging their local regulators to amend the ordinance once again to include vaping. As a result, indoor vaping bans have already been implemented in six Montana counties: Lewis and Clark, Carbon, Powell, Sanders, Granite and Wibaux, while other counties are either considering or in the process of enacting such a motion.
In Yellowstone County, an indoor vaping ban goes into effect as of the 1st of March, after a local health board approved it alongside a ban on smoking inside public buildings. Similarly, the city council of Missoula is looking into updating the local smoking ordinance to include electronic cigarettes to the list of “tobacco products” that cannot be used in public spaces. The proposed measure shall be discussed in a public hearing this week.
E-cigs should not be subjected to the same regulations as cigarettes
If implemented, the changes would not only ban vaping in the stipulated places but also within a certain amount of distance from such establishments in order to avoid secondhand vapor exposure. This could mean that vaping would also be considered illegal in vape shops, for vapers wishing to test or try products before purchasing them.
Public Health experts have been cautioning about the dangers of regulating vaping products in the same way as regular cigarettes. Studies keep indicating that e-cigarettes are significantly safer than the latter, and more importantly they have been found to be the most effective smoking cessation tools. Putting them on the same shelf as deadly cigarettes will have a detrimental effect on public health.
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