The measure comes at the heels of recreational marijuana legalization. Fair Director Troy Waffner said that following every fair, they receive complaints about the smell of tobacco smoke. However, he added, following the legalisation of marijuana this past year, the issue became more severe.

“That generated a lot of concerns at an otherwise family event,” said Waffner. “From families from couples, from just individuals, you would walk around the fairgrounds and you could smell the sweet smell of cannabis.”

To this effect, the new policy aims to curb every form of exhaled smoke and vapour, whether its pure tobacco or mixed with marijuana, and limit use to some designated smoking areas. “If you’re smoking tobacco, vaping, or smoking cannabis, you no longer can do it on the fairgrounds proper,” he said. “We will have designated areas set up on various points of the fairgrounds. You can go there and smoke, but you cannot smoke on the fairgrounds proper.”

Waffner added that these designated areas must be outdoors. “We’ll make them adequate size probably 20’ by 20’ or something like that. And we’ll put benches and tables so people can sit comfortably. Unfortunately, we can’t put it under a tent or any kind of roof structure, because you’re not allowed to smoke under a roof structure.” 

Smoking is anyway already prohibited inside state fair buildings as well as the Chevy Court and Chevy Park Concert areas, and vaping has been banned in indoor spaces across the State, as of 2017. However, this new policy only applies to the State Fair, and promoters of other events on the fairgrounds will determine their own smoking policy. 

Why vaping must be differentiated from smoking

On the other hand public health experts have long warned against the dangers of regulating vaping in the same way as smoking and limiting vaping to “smoking areas” rather than set vaping areas. Implementing measures that do not differentiate between e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes will send the wrong message to the public, and placing vapers in the same space as smokers may even undermine their efforts to quit.

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