Vaping Regulations, State-by-State
Since the dramatic rise in popularity of vaping hit the United States in recent years, the rules and regulations involving the use of e-cigarettes have been in a constant state of flux. Some states and even some local governments are banning their use on government-owned property. Others are lumping vaping into the same category as smoking while prohibiting their use in designated non-smoking areas, such as bars, restaurants, and movie theatres.
So how does a nomadic vaper know which rules apply as they travel the country, state-by-state? The below graphic provides an overview of the vaping regulations from coast to coast.
But please remember. These state laws are constantly changing. Just because a state or city seems vapor-friendly today does not mean that the rules might change tomorrow. To avoid any potentially embarrassing run-ins with law officials, Vapes.com encourages vapers to check with the relevant state advocacy groups to learn their rights before traveling and vaping in another state.
The Yellowhammer State classifies e-cigs and vaping technology as “alternative nicotine products” and prohibits their sales to minors under 19-years of age. In 2014, state officials tried unsuccessfully to pass a statewide ban on public vaping. And perhaps as a result of the bill’s failure to gain state congressional approval, some 16 different municipalities currently have some sort of partial vaping ban in place – 11 of which prohibit vaping in bars and restaurants.
Vapers must be at least 18-years old to purchase electronic cigarettes in Alaska. In fact, The Last Frontier State considers it illegal to even give vaping products to a minor. Three local governments now ban vaping in places where conventional smoking is also currently prohibited. And the University of Alaska recently voted to become a smoke-free and vape-free campus.
The Grand Canyon States has a statewide smoking ban, but the regulations do not apply to vaping – currently. However, two local governments have implemented city ordinances which ban vaping in designated non-smoking areas. And much like Alaska, Arizona state law considers the selling or giving of “vapor products” to minors under the age of 18 to be illegal.
Arkansas state law prohibits the use or sales of electronic cigarettes and vaping technology to minors under 18-years of age. Arkansas also outlaws vaping on school property. Wooster is currently the only Arkansas city with local anti-vaping regulations in place.
Oh, the wonderful state of California! The Golden State has dozens of local governments which classify vaping as smoking in their city ordinances. As a result, if smoking is banned, then vaping is banned. Some cities have only partial smoking and vaping bans that exempt or include bars and restaurants. Others consider public vaping on government-owned property to be illegal. And depending on the city, vaping in vape shops might even be prohibited.
Los Angeles allows the use of e-cigs inside local vape shops and during certain theatrical productions. Meanwhile, San Diego and Santa Monica are also vape-shop-friendly. In Marin County, the local ordinance specifically allows for vaping inside the individual apartments located within a multi-family building.
However, San Francisco recently passed a new city ordinance that prohibits the sales of flavored e-liquids and menthol cigarettes - regardless of age. If you’re heading to the Bay Area for business or pleasure, then you better stock up on vape supplies before entering the city.
There is no statewide vaping ban in Colorado, but The Centennial State has multiple municipalities which include e-cigs in their smoking bans. Some of these cities include Boulder, Edgewater, Frisco, Golden, Lakewood, and Louisville. And lots of other local governments are still debating the issue, which means that a new city ordinance prohibiting vaping in non-smoking areas could magically appear at almost any time. Colorado state law also prohibits vaping on school property, and their sales or distribution to minors under the age of 18 is illegal.
In 2014, the Connecticut state legislature made it illegal for minors under the age of 18 to purchase vaping products and e-cigs. As of October 2015, vaping in prohibited statewide anywhere that smoking is also banned, including bars and restaurants.
Delaware state law prohibits the use of portable vaporizers in all government-owned properties, including all indoor and outdoor spaces, parking lots, and even inside vehicles located on state property. Delaware also considers e-cigs and vaping technologies to be “tobacco products,” which means that their sales to minors under 18-years of age is prohibited. As of September 2015, vaping in prohibited statewide anywhere that smoking is also banned, including bars and restaurants.
District of Columbia
Washington, DC is currently very vape-friendly. The District of Columbia does not include vaping in its districtwide smoking bans. And there are currently no age restrictions for the sale or use of electronic cigarettes.
The Sunshine State prohibits the sale of portable vaporizers that dispense nicotine to minors under the age of 18. And even though there is no statewide vaping ban, some 19 different local governments also include vaping in their smoking bans.
Georgia state law prohibits the use of vaping technology and e-cigs on all state university and college campuses. There are some limited exceptions involving the conducting of research studies. Minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from buying portable vaporizers. And the counties of Chatham, Pooler, and Savannah include vaping in their smoking bans, too. DeKalb County bans vaping in the workplace but does not discriminate against the use of e-cigs in bars and restaurants.
The Aloha State prohibits the use of portable vaporizers in all non-smoking areas. Hawaii is also the very first state to raise the legal smoking and vaping age to 21-years of age. Vendors are required to place signage in their shops which clearly states these newly increased restrictions. Meanwhile, Honolulu prohibits vaping on city buses, some privately-owned restaurants, movie theaters, and even the Aloha Stadium.
Idaho state law prohibits the purchase of e-cigs and vaping products from vending machines and self-service displays. Sales to minors are strictly prohibited, and vape shops and other vendors must acquire a special license to sell their products.
In January 2015, the state legislature introduced a bill that would reclassify electronic cigarettes as “tobacco products,” but the bill has not yet been approved. There are currently no statewide vaping bans, but the city of Ketchum has special local ordinances in place which include vaping in their smoking bans citywide.
The Prairie State currently has no state regulations regarding the use of e-cigs and vaping technology. However, Illinois does have very strict child-proof packaging laws in place and prohibits the sales of electronic cigarettes to minors under the age of 18.
13 municipalities including Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, Evanston, and Schaumberg include vaping in their smoking-related bans. Chicago takes its city ordinances one step further by prohibiting both smoking and vaping within 15 feet of building entrances, but The Windy City does allow the use of e-cigs in vape shops. Two other municipalities ban vaping only in enclosed workspaces with the exception of restaurants and bars. Meanwhile, Illinois state law specifically states that vaping in theatrical productions and vape shops across the state is perfectly acceptable.
The Hoosier State does not allow the sale of portable vaporizers to minors under 18-years of age. The state-sanctioned smoking ban does not include vaping. However, Indianapolis/Marion has local ordinances which prohibit vaping in non-smoking areas.
The Hawkeye State does not legally define portable vaporizers as “tobacco products,” and e-cigarettes are not included in the state’s “smoke-free act.” However, sales to minors under the age of 18 are still strictly prohibited, and Iowa City restricts vaping on city-owned and city-managed properties. There are currently four municipalities with city ordinances in place banning vaping in bars, restaurants, and workplaces.
Kansas prohibits vaping by both inmates and employees inside and on the grounds of Department of Corrections facilities. Vendors must also have a special license to sell their products regardless of their municipal location throughout the state. Meanwhile, seven cities currently include vaping in their citywide smoking bans.
The Bluegrass State prohibits vaping inside and on the grounds of all state buildings, state parks, horse parks, and fairgrounds. It’s even illegal to vape inside vehicles located or parked within those areas.
In January 2015, Jefferson Community and Technical College banned both smoking and vaping across its entire campus while other colleges and universities are considering following suit. And even though Kentucky is considered the heart of Tobacco Country, ten different municipalities including Bardstown, Berea, Glasgow, Lexington, Manchester, and Richmond prohibit vaping in most workplaces, bars, and restaurants.
Louisiana state law prohibits the sale of portable vaporizers to minors under the age of 18. Meanwhile, seven cities including Abbeville, Cheneyville, Hammond, Monroe, New Orleans, Ouachita Parish, and West Monroe have local ordinances in place which prohibit vaping in all designated non-smoking areas.
Maine officially banned vaping in all smoke-free areas as of October 2015. The Pine Tree State also prohibits the sales of vaping products to minors under the age of 18. There are currently no individual cities with local anti-vaping ordinances on the books.
Maryland is another pro-vaping state, even though state legislators recently tried unsuccessfully to pass a statewide vaping ban in designated non-smoking areas. Currently, Maryland vapers are free to vape in most public locations with the exception of the MARC railway system.
Reference: Baltimore Sun
The only current statewide vaping restriction in Massachusetts is the prohibition to use e-cigs on state and university campuses. And there are no statewide age restrictions on the sale or use of electronic cigarettes and vaping technology. However, some 116 municipalities have local ordinances which prohibit vaping in public places, usually including bars, restaurants, and workplaces.
The Great Lakes State is currently in the process of finalizing a ban on the sale of “vapor” or “alternative nicotine” products to persons under 18-years of age. Meanwhile, Washtenaw County has an e-cig ban in place for all enclosed workplaces, but vaping in restaurants and bars is still left to the discretion of the business owner.
In 2014, the Minnesota state legislature voted to prohibit vaping in certain locations, such as most government-operated buildings, the buildings and campuses of the University of Minnesota and all Minnesota State Colleges, and all hospitals and clinics statewide. Meanwhile, there are currently 38 local governments with approved anti-vaping ordinances banning the use of e-cigs in enclosed workspaces, bars and restaurants
On January 1, 2015, vendors were also required to include child-resistant packaging for e-liquids sold across the state. Meanwhile, Minnesota law also now requires that all e-cigs and vaping technology be taxed as “tobacco products.” Vendors must also obtain a special license to sell their products which must be kept securely behind a counter at all times. Retailers are also subject to annual compliance checks. Sales to persons under the age of 18 are also prohibited.
Reference: Minnesota Department of Health
In 2013, legislators passed the Mississippi Clean Indoor Air Act which prohibits smoking on government property, including university or college campuses. Luckily, vaping is not included in the state’s “smoke-free” laws. However, there are currently 55 cities and counties with approved anti-vaping ordinances banning the use of e-cigs in certain public areas, including bars and restaurants.
The Show Me State prohibits the sale of vaping products to minors under age 18. However, vape shop owners in Missouri get an extra financial perk. Vapor products are specifically excluded from state regulations related to the taxation of tobacco products. Before this legislation was ultimately approved, it was vetoed by the state’s governor. Luckily, the state legislature later overruled the veto, and the bill was enacted into law in September 2014. Meanwhile, Branson, Kansas City, and seven other municipalities have local ordinances restricting public vaping to some degree.
Reference: Missouri General Assembly
In 2005, legislators passed the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act which prohibits smoking in certain areas. Luckily, vaping is not included in the state’s “smoke-free” laws. However, city governments have the right to implement their own anti-vaping local ordinances as they deem appropriate. So far, only Lewis and Clark County restricts vaping in bars, restaurants, and workplaces.
In Nebraska, the Smoke-Free Air Law does not apply to vaping technology, which the state legally defines as “non-combustible devices.” As of 2014, sales of vaping products to minors under 18-years of age are strictly prohibited.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – especially regarding vaping! Currently, Nevada has no state restrictions of any kind regarding the use or sale of portable vaporizers.
Vaping in New Hampshire is relatively carefree. Currently, there is no statewide vaping ban with the exception of educational facilities. And even though New Hampshire legislators passed the Clean Indoor Air Act which bans smoking in certain public areas, vaping is specifically excluded from the anti-smoking legislation. This means that – legally- vaping in bars and restaurants is allowed per the discretion of the business owner.
Furthermore, city governments are prohibited from implementing their own local ordinances which might regulate vaping more aggressively. However, the New Hampshire Senate unanimously approved HB1541 in April 2010 which bans the sale of vaping products to minors under 18-years of age.
Reference: Breathe New Hampshire
In 2010, The Garden State was the first to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in most public places, including restaurants, bars, and workspaces. In 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attempted to tax e-cigs at the same rate as combustible tobacco cigarettes at a rate of $2.70 a pack, but the measure was ultimately defeated. There are currently no municipalities with stricter local ordinances in place, although state law gives them the right to pass them in the future.
New Mexico does not have a statewide vaping ban, but it is currently considering two forms of anti-vaping regulations. The first proposal would prohibit sales to minors under the age of 18. The second would place a state tax on all vaping-related products. Both are being heavily contested by several vaper advocacy groups, including the American Vaping Association and the New Mexico Vapers Alliance. Meanwhile, Santa Fee has local ordinances against the use of e-cigs in the workplace, bars, and restaurants while Carlsbad only prohibits their use in the workplace.
Reference: KOAT 7
The Empire State prohibits the sale of e-cigs to minors under 18-years of age. Nassau County increases the age restriction to 19, and in New York City the age is 21. The state legislature is also actively pushing for a statewide ban on the sales of certain e-liquid flavors and other products, much like the recent legislation passed in San Francisco. Currently, a statewide vaping ban is in place which prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in all non-smoking designated areas, including bars, restaurants, parks, beaches, and government- managed buildings.
Reference: Consumer Affairs
North Carolina state law specifically defines e-cigs as “vapor products,” which means that e-cigarettes are considered a separate entity from traditional tobacco products. Use or purchasing of e-cigs by minors under 18-years of age is prohibited, and a 5-cents-per-millilitre e-liquid tax was signed into law in 2014.
The state also allows each municipality to create local ordinances regarding vaping. For example, Asheville bans vaping in parks, city buses, and certain public buildings. Waynesville bans e-cigs on city property, including parking lots, sidewalks, and government-owned vehicles.
North Dakota state law does not currently ban the sales of vapor products to minors. However, vaping is prohibited in any area that smoking is not allowed, such as bars, restaurants, workplaces, and tobacco stores (with the exception of vape shops). North Dakota also makes an exception for American Indian religious and cultural rituals. Local governments have the ability to pass more restrictive regulations, although none have done so to date.
The Buckeye State is somewhat lenient when it comes to vaping. There are currently no laws on the books prohibiting public vaping other than in state-owned buildings. And only three cities have passed local ordinances against vaping in bars, restaurants, and workplaces – Bexley, Grandview Heights, and Oberlin.
In late 2013, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed an executive order (not formally approved by the state legislature) prohibiting the use of portable vaporizers on state property. The ban went into effect on January 1, 2014, with one notable exception. Certain areas of Veterans Affairs housing are exempt from the ban.
The Oregon Tobacco-Free Campus Executive Order of 2012 prohibits the use of tobacco products, including vaping devices and e-cigarettes, in state buildings and on state grounds. While e-cigs are technically not covered under the state’s Smokefree Workplace Law, the Oregon Public Health Division publicly recommends that local businesses and municipalities also prohibit vaping on-site. No municipalities to date have yet passed harsher anti-vaping city ordinances.
In 2014, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed new regulations banning the use of electronic cigarettes in most public spaces, including bars, restaurants, and workplaces. The same legislation also prohibits their sales to minors under the age of 18.
Reference: NBC Philadelphia
In Rhode Island, minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from purchasing vaping devices and e-cigs. Vendors must obtain a special license from the Rhode Island Health Department before selling their products on the open market.
Reference: Boston Globe
South Carolina state law prohibits the sale of portable vaporizers to minors under 18-years of age. Furthermore, six local jurisdictions including Denmark, Estill, Hartsville, Inman, West Pelzer, and Yemassee also ban vaping in bars, restaurants, and workplaces.
The Mount Rushmore State classifies portable vaporizers as “tobacco products,” which means that minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from purchasing them. There is no statewide vaping ban, but the use of e-cigs by both employees and inmates of the Department of Correction facilities is restricted. South Dakota state law is also unclear as to whether local jurisdictions can implement their own anti-vaping regulations. As a result, South Dakota is one of the few states where no individual cities or counties have passed local vaping bans of any kind.
Another Big Tobacco state, Tennessee has no statewide vaping restrictions currently in place. Additionally, no cities or counties have passed local anti-vaping ordinances either. However, Tennessee state law does prohibit the sale of electronic vaporizers to minors under the age of 18, just like with tobacco cigarettes.
The Lone Star State does not classify electronic vaping devices as “tobacco products,” and there are currently no statewide restrictions on their sales to minors. However, 17 municipalities ban vaping in enclosed workplaces, bars and restaurants, and another seven localities prohibit their use in specifically listed locations. Oddly, the state’s four largest cities (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin) fail to include vaping in their local smoking restrictions whatsoever.
Utah classifies portable vaporizers as “tobacco products” and prohibits their use in all designated non-smoking areas. However, vapers can enjoy their e-cigs in specially designated hotel rooms and owner-operated, vape-friendly businesses. Utah also makes a specific exception for American Indian religious and cultural rituals
Vermont only recently passed a statewide vaping ban in designated non-smoking areas as of January 2017. E-cigs are legally classified as “tobacco alternatives, paraphernalia, and related products.” Sales to minors under the age of 18 are strictly prohibited, and child-resistant packaging standards are already in place for all vendors. Currently, no individual cities or counties have passed local ordinances restricting the use of vaping technology.
Many vapers consider Virginia to be one of the vape-friendliest states in the nation, perhaps because it is located deep in the heart of Tobacco Country. There is currently no statewide vaping ban. However, the use of e-cigs is prohibited on railway systems and within 100 feet of their platforms. Furthermore, state law is unclear as to whether municipalities can implement local ordinances restricting vaping. So far, no individual cities or counties in Virginia have any additional anti-vaping regulations in place.
Washington State does not currently have a statewide vaping ban, but the use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited on their ferries and water vessels. Only six municipalities have additional restrictions in place, usually involving a vaping ban in bars, restaurants, and the workplace.
Another Big Tobacco state, West Virginia does not have a statewide vaping ban already in place, but it does prohibit the sale of portable vaporizers to minors under the age of 18 – just like with tobacco cigarettes. However, The Mountain State currently has 24 counties which prohibit the use of e-cigs in bars, restaurants, and workplaces. Another five counties only ban vaping in the workplace.
Wisconsin prohibits the sale of portable vaporizers to minors under the age of 18, and a rather unique section of the state law specifically restricts their use at indoor facilities of the Wisconsin State Fair. There is no statewide vaping ban currently in place, which means that vaping is legally allowed even in establishments where smoking is illegal. However, the business owner has the right to self-restrict the practice if he or she chooses. Meanwhile, ten different cities and counties prohibit the use of vaping devices in bars, restaurants, and enclosed workplaces.
The state of Wyoming has revised its legal definition of “tobacco products” to include any product that contains nicotine, which usually includes most portable vaporizers and electronic cigarettes. Minors under the age of 18 are also prohibited from purchasing these items. So far, Laramie is the lonely local government to place a ban on vaping in bars, restaurants, and private clubs (but not necessarily the workplace).