E-cigarettes

National Park Service Will Permanently Ban Vaping Wherever it Bans Smoking

Updating rules to include "the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems" in national parks.

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NPS, public domain

Because things can always be at least slightly worse, the National Park Service wants to permanently ban vaping wherever it bans smoking. According to a press release, the wide-open grandeur of, say, Yellowstone and the wind-swept, garbage-strewn beaches of Gateway National Park's Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey, are threatened by that guy with an e-cigarette:

The National Park Service (NPS) today proposed revisions to the regulations that address smoking in national parks. The proposed revisions would change the regulation that defines smoking to include the use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The proposed revisions would also allow a superintendent to close an area, building, structure, or facility to smoking, which would include the use of ENDS, when necessary to maintain public health and safety.

"Protecting the health and safety of our visitors and employees is one of the most critical duties of the National Park Service," said Michael Reynolds, Acting Director of the National Park Service. "It is clear from a recent rule by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a report by the Surgeon General that electronic cigarettes are a threat to public health, especially to the health of young people."

These rules would make permanent earlier orders that banned e-cigs anywhere smoking tobacco was already restricted. Which is everywhere indoors and an increasing number of places outdoors, with some exceptions. If

Let's be real. Electronic cigarettes are not a threat to public health. If anything, by giving people a vastly less-toxic (and perhaps fully non-toxic) way to "smoke," e-cigs are good for public health, here and abroad. As Jacob Sullum has noted, one of the main arguments against vaping is that it leads to the smoking of actual cigarettes, a finding that is evident everywhere except actual data of teen habits, European smokers, and elsewhere. Overwhelmingly, vapers use e-cigarettes to cut back on smoking or never progress beyond huffing air to sucking down menthols. And if you're worried about "second-hand vaping," don't bother.

You don't need to believe that vaping is a technology that might "save a billion lives" (the title of a new documentary about e-cigarettes' potential to reduce smoking around the globe) to wonder why the hell the NPS is pursuing such a stupid goal. And a vague one, too: Follwoing the FDA's language, the proposed revisions talks about "nicotine delivery systems," which leaves open a serious legal question about e-liquids that don't contain any nicotine. You also don't have to take the proposed regulations without voicing your opinion. The rules will be published here tomorrow (you can download an advance PDF right now) and there's a 60-day comment period where you can weigh in.

In 1947, the NPS introduced a famous ad campaign featuring its mascot Smokey the Bear telling campers that "Only YOU can prevent forest fires!" Over the years, that led to sensible restrictions on flammable materials and heightened caution about smoking in the parks. By 2003, smoking was banned in NPS vehicles and buildings not out of fears of starting fires but due to concerns about second-hand smoke. In 2009, those rules were revised and various parks have considered going totally smoke-free or further limiting the areas in which a visitor can smoke (and hence, vape). Various groups, such as Truth Initiative, are pushing for completely smoke-free national parks, meaning a complete ban within a park's boundaries.

In December, Reason's Zach Weissmueller talked with Aaron Biebert, director of A Billion Lives, a documentary that makes the case that regulatory agencies and non-governmental organizations are engaged in a campaign of misinformation against e-cigarettes.

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  1. These rules would make permanent earlier orders that banned e-cigs anywhere smoking tobacco was already restricted. Which is everywhere indoors and an increasing number of places outdoors, with some exceptions. If

    That hanging “if.” I’m apprehensive. What could it mean?! Was it benign? Was it malicious? Maybe we’ll never know.

  2. In a National Park you are allowed to climb mountains and cliffs, go hiking or backpacking into the backcountry where all sorts of flora and fauna can cause injury or death, explore caves, swim, walk on beaches where tides can come in, sleep overnight in an igloo or snow cave, walk in a slot canyon, and have unprotected sex in a room at a national park lodge, but the great threat to the health of visitors is vaping.

    Selfie sticks are a greater threat to public health at national parks than e-cigs. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a selfie-stick to the eye.

    1. Terror: standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon with two hundred tourists taking selfies.

    2. Boot laces are a greater threat to public safety than e-cigs.

    3. Ugh, selfie sticks.

      My most recent trip to Yellowstone (August 2016) the selfie sticks were everywhere and always getting in my way.
      Oddly they seemed confined to Yellowstone only.
      Don’t remember seeing any in Glacier, Badlands, or Great Smokey Mountains at all in 2016.

      I didn’t see a single one in Yellowstone on my prior visit in June 2014

      Another photographic observation: This past year they seem to have had a big surge in animal/human interactions that resulted in injuries at Yellowstone.
      Primary cause is almost certainly idiots using their damn phones to take pictures of animals instead of bringing a proper camera with a long lens.

      The selfie sticks aren’t helping this trend as now you don’t have to find another damned fool willing to walk up to the animal to take a picture of you kissing the bison. You can do it all by yourself no help needed.

  3. “It looks like” smoking.

    This rationale is why the police are completely justified in gunning down children with toy guns.

    If only we could lynch politicians when it looks like they are in violation of the Constitution.

    1. The next park service ban will be of Pop Tarts chewed into the shape of guns. Infantilizing isn’t just for schoolchildren anymore.

      1. I was watching, I think, Roseanne during my use-it-lose-it week last month and one of the child characters… chewed a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun! Has it really only been a couple decades since this country has gone stark raving mad?

        1. It didn’t even take a couple of decades. Dave Chappelle, MADtv, the Onion, Cracked, how many humorists made parodies in the last 10?15 years that have proven eerily prescient?

    2. “It looks like” smoking.

      That is the only justification that was ever truthful. As soon as a majority of Americans decided they didn’t want to see it any more, that was it. All the bullshit about “public health” and “second-hand smoke” and “gateway to smoking” was always just hand-waving.

      1. No, I don’t think that’s the main reason. The main reason is, “It looks like a loophole.” The syllogism:

        Smoking here is banned.
        There must’ve been some good reason to ban it.
        People vape to try to achieve the same effect as smoking.
        The ban on smoking must’ve been intended to prevent them from getting that effect.
        Therefore vaping here should be banned too.

        1. Similarly:

          Kiddie porn in banned.
          There must’ve been some good reason to ban it.
          Simulated kiddie porn is for people to try to achieve the same effect as real kiddie porn.
          The ban on kiddie porn must’ve been intended to keep them from getting that effect.
          Therefore simulated kiddie porn should be banned too.
          Along with real kiddie porn produced by the kiddie subjects of the porn.

  4. Remember when laws were supposed to be made by Congress and not unelected bureaucrats? Rename them “regulations” and “rules” and the Constitution doesn’t matter anymore.

    1. Bureaucratic rule such as this is the natural conclusion of people deeming our government as “Do nothing.” The same people who judge good governance by tonnage of law output are the same people who likely love the idea of unattached bureaucratic offices controlling every detail of our existence, with only our own good in their hearts.

      1. people deeming our government as “Do nothing.”

        I always translate that from progspeak to English as “people are still not being thrown in camps for doing things I don’t like”

        1. It’s also for shortsighted individuals who are certain that they know exactly how to solve major global problems, and that it is so obvious that is purely laziness or stubborness on the part of Congress that these problems aren’t solved.

  5. You don’t need to believe that vaping is a technology that might “save a billion lives”

    Don’t worry Nick. They don’t care about saving lives anyway!

  6. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a selfie-stick to the eye tossed over a cliff by a buffalo live on facebook.

  7. Does the world really need more ways to keep people from killing themselves?

    1. Probably adds more, as now you have the added danger of getting shot by the cops if you disobey their orders to live well.

      1. Demolition Man approves this message.

  8. “Electronic Nicotine Delivery System”.

    Anybody care to invest in a start-up manufacturing electronic dosage-monitoring devices for Nicoderm patches? (The electronics don’t really need to be anything more than a cheap hearing-aid battery or similar small battery that powers a tiny light wired through a resistor such that the amp draw of the circuit drains the battery in approximately the same time the patch runs dry – when the little light goes out it’s time for a new patch.) Let’s see them try to argue why Nicoderm patches need to be verboten.

  9. “Various groups, such as Truth Initiative, are pushing for completely smoke-free national parks, meaning a complete ban within a park’s boundaries.”

    Truth Initiative?

    Fuck YOU!

    1. It’s wonderfully Orwellian. I mean, of course they are honest… it’s right there in the name.

    2. I wonder what happened to all the smug, condescending commercials they used to have. I guess the politicians found a better use for all those billions of dollars they extort from smokers.

      1. Pocket liners?

  10. completely smoke-free national parks

    No campfires. That’ll work.

  11. Maybe saving a billion lives isn’t all its cracked up to be.

    1. To save a half a billion lives from the effect of Global Warming we will have to first kill a billion people.

  12. Vapes are douche flutes though.

    It is rude to smoke around other people and it is just as rude to vape around people and act like that don’t have to smell that shit.

    Privatize all property and we don’t have to get worried about vaper douches doing their thing.

    1. That may be. Though I’d argue that vaping is no more of an imposition on people around you than having BO or wearing perfume or a ton of other things that hardly anyone ever complains about. Which I suppose private property owners can also forbid if they want to.

      1. It’s far less then people who wear a ton of perfume.

    2. The only time I’ve ever smelled anything from a vape was my brother in law.

      He had some strongly flavored caramel or coffee juice. He was also blowing out a massive cloud.
      Even then, the smell was completely gone in the time it took for the cloud to vanish.

      Coffee breath on the other hand lasts a lot longer.

  13. to wonder why the hell the NPS is pursuing such a stupid goal.

    That’s easy. This represents a fraction of a step forward in the progressive march towards a rigidly controlled egalitarian hellscape better world.

  14. Can I still smoke weed in National Parks?

    1. Only out west.

    2. Medicine is exempt.

  15. The governments iron death grip is extra throttling today. Dear God, why am I not passing out!

  16. Unenforceable. You can pry my robot-dick nicotine delivery system from my cold dead hands.

    1. The Agile Cyborg signal is lit.

    2. There are a lot of National Park reg’s that are unenforceable, yet that never seems to stop them from making unenforceable regs.

      At the end of the day, I think they just want to make sure that no one comes to the National Parks anymore. Then they can get paid for hanging out in nature all day and have the parks all to themselves. Eventually they’ll do it, that much is certain, citing ‘erosion’ or some such. It’s really just when rather than if.

  17. The only health concern with smoking is the smoke. Which vaporizers don’t have.

    The only safety concern with smoking is the fire hazard. Which vapes also don’t have (unless you break the battery and pour water on it or something).

    1. (unless you break the battery and pour water on it or something)

      Heh.

      1. Its gonna be pretty sweet when they dispense of all of this public safety cover stuff and just start fining people on the streets to extort money for the local tribal leaders.

        At least then we might see normal people starting to fight back and even chicken shit proggies.

  18. What does “permanently” mean?

    Until January 20?

    Or is Obama hoping the media will play along with his lame-duck executive orders and whip up outrage each time Trump tries to undo one of them?

    1. media will play along with

      You think they won’t? Obama’s just playing Johnny Appleseed by sowing all kinds of discontent and hand-wringing. I hope they reap the motherfucking whirlwind when they try to capitalize on it later on.

  19. While they’re at it, why doesn’t the FDA just completely ban everything tobacco or nicotine related? Then the prog cock-sucking media can throw the mother of all hissy fits when Trump reverses that ban.

    1. Then the prog cock-sucking media can throw the mother of all hissy fits when Trump ____.

      It doesn’t matter what you fill in the blank, it will still be true.

    2. When/If Trump reverses this National Parks’ vaping ban, and other federal anti-vaping measures, his popularity will grow noticeably. The over-regulators have tossed him a populist softball to knock out of the park.

      I suspect that these regulations have been in the pipeline for a year or so, under the assumption that the Dems would win the 2016 election, and that there’d be no chance of their reversal. Only momentum and stubbornness kept the bureaucratic process going. Plus, maybe, incredibly, Obama thinks of a vaping ban as positive part of his legacy.

  20. “It is clear from a recent rule by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a report by the Surgeon General that electronic cigarettes are a threat to public health, especially to the health of young people.”

    That’s first-order analysis, or “fast thinking.” Discouraging electronic cigarettes is an even greater threat to public health. Comprendre?

  21. Encouraging vaping would discourage forest fires and litter from discarded cigarette butts.

  22. A Billion lies

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