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March 4, 2024

Can You Vape in Public?

Vaping 101 | 1 comment

When the first e-cigarettes hit the market more than 15 years ago, one of the biggest selling points was the fact that public smoking bans — which had been enacted just about everywhere by that point — didn’t include vaping. Therefore, you could vape almost anywhere you wanted, and you technically wouldn’t be breaking the law.

Fast forward to today, and that’s definitely not the case anymore. Most cities and states that have enacted clean air laws and other public smoking bans have expanded those bans to include vaping. Therefore, it’s usually a very bad idea to vape in public unless you’re in a place where you know smoking is also allowed.

Still, that does leave many public places where you’re allowed to vape — but before you do, consider these things.

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E-Cigarette In Public

Understanding Vaping and Its Perception

Vaping involves inhaling vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device. These devices heat a liquid that typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals, turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled. Despite the perception of vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, it’s important to recognize that it still introduces nicotine and chemicals into the body and the surrounding air.

The perception of vaping varies widely. Some view it as a positive tool for smoking cessation, while others are concerned about its health impacts and the potential for vaping to normalize smoking behaviors, especially among younger demographics. This divide in perception significantly influences public vaping regulations and social acceptance.

Legal Landscape of Public Vaping

The legal restrictions on vaping in public places can vary dramatically depending on where you are in the world, and even from one city or state to another within a single country. Generally, laws regarding vaping in public spaces are becoming more stringent, often aligning closely with those governing smoking.

National and Local Regulations

Many countries have enacted laws that treat vaping similarly to smoking, banning their use in enclosed public spaces such as bars, restaurants, and workplaces. These restrictions aim to protect non-smokers from second-hand exposure and reduce the public normalization of smoking-like behaviors. It’s essential to research the specific laws in your area, as regulations can vary widely.

In some regions, vaping is subject to even stricter controls than smoking, with bans extending to outdoor public spaces such as parks and beaches. Conversely, other areas may have more lenient regulations, allowing vaping where smoking is prohibited. Always check local laws to avoid unintentional violations.

International Considerations

If you’re traveling internationally, be especially diligent in researching vaping laws in your destination country. Some countries have outright bans on the sale and use of vaping products, with severe penalties for violations. Even if you’re transiting through a country with strict vaping regulations, you may be subject to these laws.

Social Etiquette and Vaping in Public

Beyond legal restrictions, social etiquette plays a significant role in public vaping. The key to vaping respectfully in public spaces lies in awareness and consideration for those around you.

Respect Non-Smoking Areas

Even if not legally required, it’s good practice to avoid vaping in traditionally non-smoking areas such as indoor public spaces or crowded outdoor areas. This consideration helps to minimize exposure to vapor for those who prefer to avoid it and reduces potential health risks for bystanders.

Be Mindful of Crowds

Vaping in close proximity to others, especially in crowded or enclosed spaces, can be intrusive and disrespectful. Always be mindful of your surroundings and the people around you. If you’re in a crowded area, consider stepping away to vape in a more secluded spot.

Ask Permission

When in doubt, ask for permission. If you’re with friends or in a private establishment, a quick check to see if anyone minds before you vape can go a long way in maintaining social harmony. This simple act of courtesy can prevent discomfort and conflict.

Tips for Responsible Public Vaping

To navigate the complexities of public vaping with grace, consider the following tips:

  1. Know the Law: Always be up to date on the vaping laws in your area or any area you plan to visit. Ignorance of the law is not a defense, and breaking vaping regulations can lead to fines or other penalties.
  2. Practice Discretion: Even in areas where vaping is allowed, consider using devices that produce less vapor or stepping aside to a less populated area to vape. Discretion can minimize impact on others and reduce negative perceptions of vaping.
  3. Use Appropriate Flavors: Some flavors can be particularly potent or unpleasant to others. Choosing more neutral or less intrusive flavors when in public can be a considerate choice.
  4. Be Prepared to Explain: Vaping is still a curiosity to many, and you might encounter questions or concerns from bystanders. Being prepared to explain vaping politely and informatively can help ease tensions and dispel misunderstandings.
  5. Carry Trash Bags for Your Waste: Responsible disposal of vaping-related waste, such as cartridges or refills, is essential. Keeping a small bag or container with you for disposal can prevent litter and demonstrate respect for the environment. You don’t ever want your neighborhood to look like this.

Where Is Public Vaping Banned?

As I mentioned above, there are some places where you could actually argue that vaping is regulated even more strictly than smoking. Here’s a partial list of American cities in which public vaping is banned. This Wikipedia page has a more comprehensive summary.


  • Dillingham, Juneau, Palmer: Vaping banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.


  • Tempe: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.
  • Coconino County: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including restaurants but exempting bars.


  • Wooster: Vaping generally prohibited on school property.


  • Statewide vaping ban in workplaces, many public spaces, including restaurants and bars. Communities can have stronger laws.
  • San Francisco: Banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the city.


  • Statewide vaping ban, localities may regulate vaping more stringently than the state.
  • Several cities including Arvada, Boulder, Breckenridge, Brighton, Edgewater, Evans, Fort Collins, Frisco, Golden, Greeley, Greenwood Village, Lafayette, Lakewood, Littleton, Louisville, Wheat Ridge: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants or exempting bars.


  • Statewide vaping ban in various public places including restaurants, bars, and government buildings.


  • Statewide vaping ban in all places smoking is banned, including bars and restaurants.


  • In 2018, voters approved an amendment to ban vaping in most indoor workplaces.
  • Several counties and cities including Alachua County, Archer, Belleview, Boca Raton, Clay County, Miami-Dade County, Delray Beach, Gainesville, Hawthorne, High Springs, Lighthouse Point, Marion County, Miami, Newberry, Orange Park, Port Saint Lucie, Port St. Joe, Vero Beach, Waldo: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including restaurants but exempting bars.


  • No statewide vaping ban, but Roswell bans vaping in all city parks.
  • Chatham County, Pooler, Savannah: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.
  • DeKalb County: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, exempting bars and restaurants.


  • Statewide vaping ban in workplaces and other public places.


  • Ketchum: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.


  • No statewide vaping ban, but localities may regulate vaping more stringently than the state.
  • Chicago: Banned in all enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

Other notable mentions:

  • Houston, Texas: Vaping is banned in public spaces to align with smoking restrictions​​.

Did You KnowConsumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association is a group founded to unify vapers, provide updates on potential e-cigarette bans and provide information about who to contact when you want your voice to be heard.

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1 Comment

  1. melody lachelli

    I would love to stop smoking tabaco and I feel e-cigs are the way to roll. Can’t wait to try ur product, I can almost smell the fresh air. 🙂