On April 27th, 2015, the Portland City Council voted to include various electronic smoking devices in the City Code's definition of smoking. This change, effective May 27, 2015, means that these products are now prohibited in all locations where smoking is prohibited in City Code, including,
eating establishments (indoor and outdoor) and outdoor locations that are currently smoke-free including parks and open spaces, trails, beaches, athletic facilities and playgrounds.
Healthy Portland staff are working to notify businesses and organizations impacted by this change as well as to educate residents and visitors about Portland's smoke-free spaces. Click here and go to ARTICLE V. REGULATION OF TOBACCO, to see the relevant section of Portland's City Code.
What are Electronic Smoking Devices?
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery operated devices often designed to look like a conventional cigarette. The devices are used to inhale a vaporized liquid solution that frequently contains nicotine. A press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dated September 5, 2014 says that e-cigarette use more than doubled among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012. The increasing popularity of electronic smoking devices, combined with loopholes in some existing control laws, have the potential to re-normalize tobacco use.
The journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research has published a new study that focuses on middle and high school students who have never smoked cigarettes but who have used e-cigarettes. Among students who never smoked a cigarette but who had used an e-cigarette at least once, 43.9% had an intention to smoke conventional cigarettes.
A major concern for public health advocates is the potential for youth to begin using e-cigarettes under the belief that e-cigarettes are safe, then develop an addiction to nicotine which leads to traditional tobacco use. By prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in places where traditional cigarettes are already prohibited, we are able to reinforce the message that nicotine is addictive and no nicotine product is completely safe.