Commuters can no longer use e-cigarettes and vaping devices on BART property, according to a recent update to their no-smoking policy.
The ordinance, passed Feb. 12, is a remedy to complaints the company has received about smoking, BART Communication Officer Taylor Huckaby said. Unlike the former policy, the new no-smoking ordinance includes vaping and will be enforced through patron reporting and company police patrols.
“We want to create an environment for our passengers that consistently has a non-smoking policy,” Huckaby said. “Where you can sit next to somebody and you don’t have to worry about breathing in their nicotine vapor or tobacco smoke.”
Signs will be posted throughout stations and trains to inform riders about the new ordinance. Students at SF State are skeptical about the new policy’s effectiveness, and some said the presence of police will be the only way BART will be able to enforce the new ban.
“Some of the things you can’t really do on BART, people still do it,” SF State sophomore Jose Perez said. “I feel that a lot of the vapes don’t really have an effect on other people, like as much as the smell of tobacco and when people smoke cigars, vapes aren’t as strong. I personally think vapes aren’t a problem.”
Graduate student Francesca Thompson is an occasional vape smoker and said she agrees with the decision but does not believe the signs will be effective.
“It’s not going to be effective at all,” Thompson said. “I feel like in order for that to be effective, there needs to be more police presence monitoring that.”
Kinesiology major Brian Pan said he agrees with the policy as a courtesy to riders. Pan, not a smoker, believes people should not be smoking vapes in enclosed areas.
“I don’t know what’s in it, I don’t know if it will effect peoples lungs,” Pan said. “I don’t know if that’s like secondhand smoking and if you’re in an enclosed environment, it can be harmful.”
Pan said the new policy will not stop student riders from adhering to the ban, much like the no-ride bicycle policy on campus is often ignored.
“In my opinion, laws are there to be broken,” said Pan. “If the BART puts the ban, people are still going to do it unless you know there’s cops or whatever enforcing it.”