Natonal Parks: E-cigarettes subject to same rules as tobacco

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis Monday (Sept. 14) issued a policy memorandum prohibiting the use of electronic smoking devices in all places where tobacco smoking is prohibited in national parks.

“Protecting the health and safety of our visitors and employees is one of the most critical duties of the National Park Service,” said Director Jarvis. “We are therefore extending the restrictions currently in place protecting visitors and employees from exposure to tobacco smoke to include exposure to vapor from electronic smoking devices.”

Vapor exhaled from electronic cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) contains nicotine at a level roughly one-tenth of that found in second-hand smoke. Nicotine is highly addictive, toxic to developing fetuses, and impairs fetal brain and lung development. Recent public health studies suggest that ENDS aerosols can also contain heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, and cancer-causing agents.

The policy memorandum establishes National Park Service guidance on the use of ENDS and is effective immediately. Under this guidance, the use of ENDS will not be allowed within all facilities and vehicles that are government owned or leased, and within all national park concessions facilities.