Oregon has proven to be a forward thinking state when it comes to medical herbal use, being one of the states to make it legal for people to use cannabis recreationally. Despite this, the state has passed a new law that restricts the use of vaporizer pen and e-cigarettes, making it now only legal to use vape pens for nicotine outside, on private property, in state-approved vape shops, or in hotels that allow smoking.
About the New Law
As of January 1, 2016, it became illegal to use vapor pen e-cigarettes in public places in Oregon. An expansion of a piece of legislation called the Oregon Indoor Clean Air act bans vaping in restaurants, bars, schools, office buildings, stores, and other public places, and requires all public buildings to have signs out front that say "No smoking or vaping." Businesses that do not comply with the law can be subject to fines of up to $500 per day. The law will be enforced by the Oregon Health Authority.
Reasons for the Law
Some lawmakers have argued that it was necessary to expand the smoking ban to include electronic cigarette vaporizers because of enforcement concerns. These individuals state that it's not possible to tell people not to smoke, but to allow people to use vapes. This argument is viewed by critics as odd as there is a clear difference between a vaporizer and a cigarette.
Another argument for the law states that it's a matter of public health. Because e-cig vapes still contain nicotine, an addictive drug that may cause heart disease, some lawmakers believe that banning vaping helps to encourage healthy lifestyles. Some of these lawmakers even state that claims electronic cigarettes help people to quit smoking tobacco are false, although anecdotal and scientific evidence exists to the contrary.
The final argument for the ban involves the use of vaporizers among minors. Oregon state law prohibits the sale of vape pens to anyone under the age of 18, but there are concerns that minors may still get their hands on electronic cigarettes. To lawmakers who make this argument, banning vapor pens sends a message that vaping is just as bad as smoking, to help discourage children and teens from trying vapes.
It's important to note that herbal vaporizer use in public places in Oregon is illegal. Although it is legal to use cannabis in the state, vaporizer use must take place at home under the law.