I remember going to events years ago and coming home smelling like cigarette smoke. Now, I only smell like my natural body odor because most places ban smoking inside. And a reaction to that ban—along with a growing concern for a healthier lifestyle—has seen the rise of the electronic cigarette (e-cig).
If you’re not familiar with an e-cig, it’s a device that simulates smoking a real cigarette by vaporizing a liquid solution. Some solutions have nicotine in them, while others are just flavored (e.g., cherry, coffee, mint, etc.). The solution’s ingredients are a concern for some non-smokers. The fear is that they are or can be just as harmful to the body as regular cigarette smoke.
This debate has created some great conversations about managing e-cig use in venues.
“Venues should allow e-cigs to be used inside. E-cigs are the future, and the future is now,” said Carl Rasmussen, a Dallas-based supporter of e-cigs. “Companies should encourage safe alternatives to traditional cigarette consumption for their attendees by openly accepting more people for profits while minding their choice to be healthier. It’s a win-win.”
For the Allen Event Center in Texas, e-cigs were initially not allowed under its non-smoking policy.
“As we received push back, we began to look into it and stated that the current no e-cig policy was a temporary policy as we researched the e-cigs, reviewed the FDA’s opinion, and internally reviewed if they fell under any current city ordinances,” said IAVM member David Angeles, interim general manager at the center, on VenueNet. “That bought us time, but in the end our attorney let us know that current ordinances don’t prohibit them. We were told the city could look to create an ordinance, but in our opinion, it was premature to do so since they are so new and the FDA and the e-cig companies are still jockeying in the courts (at least they were earlier in 2013). Creating a building policy allowing or prohibiting was up to us.”
Angeles said that the center chose to allow them to show its openness.
“And [we] began to document complaints about e-cig use that we could potentially use as support if we saw a need to create a building policy to not allow the e-cigs,” Angeles said. “Surprisingly, we have had little to no complaints regarding them, and the number of actual users are small.”
For most venues, e-cig policies may not even matter when it comes to attracting guests.
“E-cig policies wouldn’t stray my decision to attend a particular venue,” Rasmussen said. “I still have a strong vaping etiquette from my cigarette days, and I’m fine with going outside with the others to take a vape.”
What’s your opinion on e-cigs? How should venues police their use? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.