After the San Marcos city councilmembers voted Oct. 2 to pass an amendment to the new Clear Air Ordinance, the use of e-cigarettes in public places will be banned beginning in June.
As of June 1, 2014, smoking or “vaping” inside any bar, lounge or restaurant will not be permitted, according to the ordinance. The ordinance defines smoking as “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, tobacco, weed, plant, or other combustible substance in any manner or in any form.”
Smoking includes the use of an e-cigarette, which by definition under the ordinance “creates a vapor in any manner or in any form.”
City staff are looking into questions that have been raised about “vaping” and “vape shops,” according to Councilwoman Kim Porterfield, Place 1.
“I anticipate there will be future discussion and possibly an amendment to allow for vape shops to operate, similar to the exemption on smoking shops,” Porterfield said.
Retail tobacco stores are currently exempted from the portion of the ordinance that prohibits smoking in public places, according to the ordinance. No such exception is yet defined for “vape shops.”
Enforcement of the ordinance ranges from routine health inspections by city employees to reports of violations to the director of the Environmental Health Division of the Community Services Department. “No Smoking” signs will be required in all public places where smoking is prohibited, according to the ordinance.
“I don’t see why e-cigarettes needed to be included,” said Robert Rahm, a local regular “vape shop” customer. “You can’t smell it, and it’s not harmful to the people around you.”