Boulder County Housing Authority Bans Vaping
In Boulder County, Colorado, marijuana is legal for recreational use, but residents of the city’s Housing Authority are not allowed to vape in their apartments. The new vaping ban will be effective on August 17 and prohibits use of ecigs both indoors and outdoors in Boulder County Housing Authority’s 611 rental properties.
In 2008, the county implemented a smoke free policy for public housing, but this is the first time Colorado has seen such a heavy handed ban on electronic cigarettes. It made sense to ban smoking seven years ago. After all, smoking is a major fire hazard and it puts residents and staff at risk for health problems. But why ban vaping?
The new policy forbids residents from “either the carrying, smoking, burning, inhaling, or exhaling of any kind of lighted pipe, cigar, cigarettes, hookah, weed, herbs, incense, or any other lighted smoking equipment, or the use of an electronic smoking or vapor smoking device.”
Authorities say the ban isn’t related to any complaints, but officials just decided it was a smart way to protect property managers and tenants. A handful of housing complexes offer designated outdoor smoking areas, but most county-owned rental properties won’t allow vaping or smoking anywhere on the premises. The rules apply to both tenants and visitors and anyone caught violating the rules could potentially be evicted.
Of course, this ban didn’t receive any public input. County Commissioners Deb Gardner and Elise Jones voted to approve the new vaping ban at Thursday’s meeting without any public hearing.
Despite the harsh rules, one major question still looms. How will the housing authority ever enforce this rule? Electronic cigarettes emit a mostly odorless vapor that quickly dissipates. Unless the property managers actually see someone vaping outdoors, they would never know. Ultimately, vapers are taking a risk by using ecigs in their apartments, but chances are pretty good that they will never be discovered if they are careful.
Do you think the Boulder County Commissioners are taking things too far with a ban on ecigs?