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Vaping indoors now illegal, carries up to $500 fine

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Vaping indoors now illegal, carries up to $500 fine Submitted photo

One of the several new laws that took effect in Georgia on July 1 is one that now officially prohibits vaping in public spaces. The legislation, Senate Bill 47, passed 152-14 in the 2023 legislative session and extends the state’s 2005 Smoke-Free Air Act to include vaping.

 

 

According to the 2005 act, smoking indoors in public spaces is prohibited. There are exceptions — including tobacco stores, bars, and other establishments as outlined by the General Assembly. 

 

 

Since the state adopted that law, vaping has become increasingly more popular. And many people who vape do so indoors, often in areas in which smoking would never be allowed. The new law aims to put an end to public indoor vaping. Under the new law, anyone who commits a violation can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined from $100 to $500.

 

 

The City of Douglas has a clean indoor air ordinance in effect. It is very similar to the state law. The local ordinance prohibits smoking indoors but excludes tobacco stores, private homes, Class III establishments that do not serve food, bars and restaurants that deny access to anyone under 18, some hotel rooms, and other similar locations. 

 

 

Under the local clean indoor air ordinance, penalties are a warning for the first violation, a $250 fine for the second violation, and a $500 fine for the third violation. A judge would decide the sentence for a fourth violation within one year. 

 

 

The state law, however, pre-empts the local ordinance. Which means that though the local ordinance doesn’t mention vaping, it’s still against the law to vape in Douglas and Coffee County according to the 2005 state act.

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