A 2,700-page long infrastructure bill has a vaping prohibition provision on Amtrak trains buried deep in it.
WASHINGTON — Congressional lawmakers have inserted a vaping prohibition in a bipartisan infrastructure bill supported by members of both major political parties and US President Joe Biden. For our readers that don’t know the name of the entity, Amtrak is owned and operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and the United States Federal Government. It is officially the state-owned passenger rail enterprise that services most of the continental United States and several locations in Canada.
According to Reason Magazine, the existing Amtrak clean-air policy already prohibits smoking and vaping on trains. This, however, isn’t the case for designated smoking areas that exist in some train stations. But, the measure was included in the infrastructure bill because some lawmakers are strong in their belief that current prohibitions are relaxed.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D–D.C.) introduced the so-called Banning Smoking on Amtrak Act of 2019 in an effort to officially codify such a measure in federal statute.
Norton said in a press release that her proposal at the time “would make this ban a matter of federal law and put the force of law behind protecting people from harmful secondhand smoke and its proven detrimental health effects.
The current bipartisan infrastructure measure codifies a variation of Norton’s proposal.
The text from the bill indicates that “Amtrak shall prohibit smoking, including the use of electronic cigarettes, onboard all Amtrak trains.” The bill text further defines “the term ‘electronic cigarette’ means a device that delivers nicotine or other substance to a user of the device in the form of a vapor that is inhaled to simulate the experience of smoking.”
Such a definition aligns the Amtrak smoke-free policy with other public health and product regulatory statutes at the federal and state levels.