Vape — Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Vape — Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The city of Riverside is considering imposing a ban on vaping in and near the outside of buildings and in public parks. Current regulations already disallow smoking tobacco cigarettes in these places.

On Monday, Dec. 12, the ban, proposed by current Riverside Councilman Chris MacArthur, was given a vote of support by the city’s land use committee. This proposal was set in motion after city residents brought forth various concerns to MacArthur about electronic cigarettes and their use in public places.

An extension of the current ban on smoking tobacco cigarettes is also under consideration to disallow smoking in places such as bars, restaurants, stores, bus stops, gas stations and ATMs. Norco, Hemet and Temecula are a few cities in the area that have adopted this type of ban in recent years.

While a ban on all forms of smoking and tobacco use has existed on all of the UC campuses since January 1, 2014, this regulation would make vaping even more restrictive to UCR students by removing allowable places for smoking in public both off-campus and around the city.

Ani Dhruva, a fourth-year public policy student expressed his distaste for the possibility of creating another ban on smoking to include vaping saying, “I do not agree with the ban imposed on the usage of e-cigarettes by the city of Riverside due to the potential effects of the ban on youth under the age of 21, as well as the general enforcement of it as well.”

“By approving this ban, you have created a rather poorly enforceable law. Who has the time to actively monitor e-cigarette usage of others in public?” Dhruva challenged. “While in principle it is a good intentioned ban, pragmatically I do not see a benefit at all.”

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine to the user through a vapor created in combination with flavoring and chemicals. While e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, the impacts they impose on human health are still not well understood.

The measure will officially be decided at the Tuesday, Jan. 10 city council meeting in Art Pick Council Chamber in downtown Riverside.