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.
(Last updated 11.29.19)
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.
The Alaska State Congress recently voted to extend the legal vaping age to 19 years of age. The Last Frontier State considers adults who give or gift vaping products to minors illegal. 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 gifting 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 21-years of age unless the consumer is active-military with proper identification. Arkansas also outlaws vaping on school property. Wooster is currently the only Arkansas municipality with local anti-vaping regulations in place.
Oh, the wonderful state of California. The Golden State does not have an official statewide vaping ban in place, but it is not for a lack of trying. In mid-2019, Governor Gavin Newsom said that he would like to sign an executive order banning flavored vapes instantly, but he feels he lacks the legal authority. Currently, the State of California outlaws vaping in any smoking-restricted area, such as a school, hospital, or medical facility. Furthermore, you must be at least 21 to vape in this state.
California also has dozens of local governments which either ban vaping outright or place much harsher restrictions on their usage and/or sales. For example, some cities have only partial smoking and vaping bans that may exempt or include bars and restaurants. And depending on the city, vaping in vape shops might even be prohibited.
The most restrictive city is San Francisco which recently passed a new city ordinance that prohibits the sales of flavored e-liquids and menthol cigarettes - regardless of age. Several other metropolitan areas are trying to enact similar legislation.
There is no statewide vaping ban in Colorado, but vaping is illegal is any non-smoking location, such as schools, healthcare facilities, and elevators. The Centennial State has at least 16 municipalities which ban e-cigs in other venues, which may include bars, restaurants, and enclosed work environments.
Some of these cities include Boulder, Edgewater, Frisco, Golden, Lakewood, and Louisville. Numerous other local governments are still debating the issue, which means that a new city ordinance prohibiting vaping in specific areas could magically appear at almost any time. The legal vaping age in Colorado is currently 18, but a bill to raise the age to 21 is actively making its way through the state congress and looks likely to pass soon.
Connecticut currently bans the sales of all vaping products statewide, effective December 1, 2019. This is a new regulation, and additional details are yet to be determined. It is not illegal to use vapor products, however, and the legal vaping age is 21. 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 outlaws vaping in all non-smoking areas, and the legal vaping age is 21.
The Sunshine State currently prohibits the sale of portable vaporizers that dispense nicotine to minors under the age of 18, but a bill to raise the age to 21 is under consideration by the state congress. And even though there is no statewide vaping ban, some 19 different local governments specifically ban vaping in enclosed workspaces and restaurants. Fortunately for nightlife enthusiasts, bars and nightclubs are exempt.
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 under 18 are strictly prohibited, and vape shops and other vendors must acquire a special license to sell their products. 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 21. Illinois also restricts the usage of vapor products on college and university campuses much like the State of Georgia.
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, although a bill to raise the legal vaping age to 21 is making its way through the state congress. The state-sanctioned smoking ban does not include vaping at this time. However, Indianapolis and Greenwood have local ordinances which prohibit vaping in enclosed workspaces, bars, and restaurants.
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 is an 18 and over state and 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 21 unless the consumer had attained the age of 18 prior to July 1, 2018 as per a grandfather clause in the new regulation. 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 and any public location already deemed non-smoking, such as schools, hospitals, and restaurants. The legal vaping age is currently 21, and only two counties restrict vaping in enclosed workspaces and nightclubs.
After Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order on September 24, 2019 temporarily banning the sales of flavored vapes until December 11, 2019, the state congress pass a new law just before Thanksgiving making the ban permanent. The emergency actions were instigated by the public hysteria surrounding a “vaping-related” lung disorder which is, in reality, linked to the vaping of Black Market THC-containing cartridges. Zero of the medical diagnoses have thus far been attributed to the vaping of FDA-regulated, nicotine-based vapes.
The State of Massachusetts does not criminalize vapor product usage though, and the legal vaping age is 21. Vaping on state and university campuses is expressly forbidden, and some 116 municipalities have local ordinances which prohibit e-cigarette usage in public places, usually including bars, restaurants, and workplaces.
In mid-2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer tried and failed to implement an executive order banning the sales of all flavored vapes statewide. The order was overturned by the state courts almost instantly. Yet, in the Great Lakes State, the legal vaping age is still only 18-years of age, and only a single metropolitan community - Washtenaw County - has an e-cig ban in place for all enclosed workplaces. Even in Washtenaw County, vaping inside 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, and all vapor products must always be kept secure behind the counter and out of reach of children. Retailers are also subject to annual compliance checks, and sales to persons under the age of 18 are also prohibited.
In 2013, legislators passed the Mississippi Clean Indoor Air Act which prohibits smoking on government property, including university or college campuses. Meanwhile, there are currently 55 cities and counties with approved anti-vaping ordinances banning the use of e-cigs in certain public areas, usually including bars and restaurants.
The Show Me State prohibits the sale of vaping products to minors under age 18. Branson, Kansas City, and eight additional municipalities have additional local ordinances in place that restrict public vaping to varying levels of degree.
On October 8, 2019, Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order banning the sales of all online and in-store vapor purchases for 120-days, but a judge issued a temporary halt on the policy shortly thereafter. Nicotine-based and THC-containing products were included in the initial ban. The final ruling is yet to be determined, but for now, no official ban ins in place. The legal vaping age in Montana is still 18 years of age.
In Nebraska, the Smoke-Free Air Law does not apply to vaping technology, which this vape-friendly state legally defines as “non-combustible devices.” The legal vaping age in Nebraska is 19, and no local ordinances are currently in place restricting e-cig usage in public venues.
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, and the legal vaping age is still 18.
Vaping in New Hampshire is also relatively carefree. The legal vaping age is 18, and the use of vapor products is legally prohibited in any area designate as non-smoking, including hospitals, schools, and government-owned facilities. This means that – legally- vaping is technically allowed in bars and restaurants but per the discretion of the business owner. Furthermore, city governments are prohibited from implementing their own local ordinances which might attempt to regulate vaping products more aggressively.
In 2010, The Garden State was the first to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in most public places, including restaurants, bars, and workspaces. The legal vaping age is 21, and there are currently no municipalities with stricter local ordinances in place, although state law gives them the legal authority to pass them in the future.
New Mexico does not have a statewide vaping ban, and this vape-friendly state has a legal vaping age of 18. Only Santa Fe and Carlsbad have restrictions in place prohibiting vapor product usage in enclosed workspaces, bars, and restaurants.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to implement an executive order banning the sales of flavored e-cigarettes statewide in mid-2019, but the courts placed a restraining order on the policy almost immediately. Until both sides of the argument can be heard by a state appellate court, the New York vaping ban is kaput. Today, vaping is outlawed only in designated smoking areas, and the legal vaping age is 21.
Currently, seven New York municipalities restrict e-cigarette usage in specific areas to some varying degree. For example, vaping is bars and restaurants is illegal in Lynbrook, but it’s not automatically illegal for other city workspaces. Meanwhile, New York City recently passed local legislation banning the sales of all favored vapor products citywide.
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-milliliter 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 city parks, public transportation, and certain government-owned buildings. Waynesville bans e-cigs on city property, including parking lots, sidewalks, and even government-owned vehicles.
In North Dakota, vaping is prohibited in any area where 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. The legal vaping age is 18, and local governments have the legal authority 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. Ohio only recently raised the legal vaping age to 21.
In Oklahoma, vaping is only banned in Department of Corrections properties, even including vehicles. The legal vaping age is 18, and local municipalities have the legal authority to implement harsher anti-vaping restrictions at any time. To date, none have done so.
On October 4, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order banning the sales of flavored vapes statewide for 180-days. However, the policy was immediately halted temporarily by the state courts and is currently under review. At This Time, only marijuana-based products are still prohibited for the 120-day timeframe, and the legal vaping age is 18. Vaping is illegal in any area already deemed non-smoking, such as hospitals, schools, bars, and restaurants.
In 2014, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed new regulations banning the use of electronic cigarettes in most public spaces, including enclosed workplaces, state parks, restaurants, and most bars. The same legislation also prohibits their sales to minors under the age of 18. Philadelphia is the only municipality with a local vaping ban ordinance in place.
Rhode Island is currently under a temporary 4-month ban on the sales, manufacturing, and distribution of all flavored vapor products. The emergency regulations issued by Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo in coordination with state health department officials are in direct response to news events surrounding a mysterious outbreak of “vaping-related” lung injuries that have since been attributed to the vaping of illegal Black Market THC-containing cartridges. While the ban is slated to last only 4-months, an extension is also possible.
Vapor product usage, however, is still legal, and the legal vaping age in Rhode Island remains at a low 18 years of age. Regardless of the 120-day statewide ban, vaping is already prohibited in any area deemed as non-smoking, including childcare facilities, hospitals, schools, sports arenas, public transportation, and even the common areas of public housing units.
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 somewhat 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 vape-friendly state deep in the heart of tobacco country, Tennessee has no statewide vaping restrictions currently in place. Tennessee state law prohibits the sale of electronic vaporizers to minors under the age of 18, just like with regards to tobacco cigarettes.
The Lone Star State outlaws vaping in all smoking-restricted areas, such as schools, hospitals, healthcare facilities, elevators, and indoor theaters. Purchasing of vape products is restricted to persons 21 and over, unless the vaper is active military. Some 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 three largest cities (Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas) fail to include vaping in their local anti-smoking ordinances whatsoever.
On October 2, 2019, Utah public health officials attempted to ban the sales of flavored vaping products except in “tobacco specialty shops.” District Court Judge Keith Kelly almost temporarily overturned the emergency rule almost immediately. The case is still pending.
Currently, no statewide ban is in place expect for areas already deemed non-smoking, such as hospitals, schools, and government-owned properties. Vapers can also 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. Currently, no individual cities or counties have passed local ordinances restricting the use of vaping technology, and the legal vaping age in Utah is 19.
Vermont 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.” As of September 1, 2019, the legal vaping age is now 21. Child-resistant packaging standards are also 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, too, is located deep in the heart of Tobacco Country. There is currently no statewide vaping ban, and the legal vaping age has recently increased to 21. Exceptions exist for 18-year old active duty military personnel.
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.
On October 10, 2019, Washington State Governor John Inslee signed an executive order temporarily banning the sales, manufacturing, and distribution of flavor vapor products for the next 120-days. Attempts to have the ban overturned by the courts were unsuccessful, and the ban will remain in effect until February 7, 2020. An extension may be possible.
Vapor usage, however, remains decriminalized, and the legal vaping age in Washington State is 21. Only six municipalities have additional restrictions in place, usually involving e-cig prohibitions in bars, restaurants, and enclosed workspaces.
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 21. However, The Mountain State currently has 24 counties which prohibit the use of e-cigs in bars, restaurants, and workplaces. Another five counties have varying levels of additional e-cig restrictions.
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 technically means that vaping is legally allowed even in establishments where smoking is illegal, like bars and restaurants. However, the business owner has the right to self-restrict the practice if he or she chooses. Meanwhile, ten different cities and counties specifically 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 prohibited from purchasing these items. To date Laramie is the lonely local government to place a ban on vaping in bars, restaurants, and enclosed workspaces.
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