BART’s Board of Directors may enact an
ordinance prohibiting vaping at its stations.

BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS | Without a doubt, smoking is banned on BART trains and its station. The use of e-cigarettes may be next.

The BART Board of Directors will decide during an evening board meeting Thursday whether to add to its current prohibition of cigarettes, the use of battery-powered electronic cigarettes that allow users to consume liquefied nicotine without the smoke many find displeasing.

“A number of complaints have reached the Board of Directors about people using electronic cigarettes and vaping devices on BART property,” said BART Board Director Robert Raburn. “Other transit providers have enacted prohibitions that we now propose to enact.”

Although, there is not yet agreement whether e-cigarette use is less harmful that tobacco-based cigarettes, the BART board’s decision comes a day after national researchers offered a report Wednesday finding vapor from e-cigarettes emit far more formaldehyde than regular cigarettes.

A staff report offered to the BART board states some similar potential health risks due to e-cigarettes. Despite the lack of scientific absolutes, many local municipalities have chosen to error on the side of prohibitions similar to those against cigarette use in public spaces. BART staff estimate about 45 municipalities ban e-cigarettes in public.

Transit authorities in Los Angeles and Santa Clara have similar bans to the ordinance being proposed Thursday night, according to the staff report.

While e-cigarettes remain unregulated, attempts by the State Legislature have fallen short. Most recently, a bill by former State Sen. Ellen Corbett was gutted by special interests to exclude e-cigarette manufacturers.