Columbia bans vaping at bars, restaurants. Yes, that includes the patio

Vaping in your favorite Five Points spot could land you with a $100 fine, thanks to this new law passed by the Columbia city government Tuesday.

The new law bans the use of e-cigarettes at bars and restaurants within the city of Columbia. It covers devices such as cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookahs and electronic smoking devices which create aerosol or vapor to deliver nicotine or other substances.

The law also orders that users not be able to smoke within 25 feet of the entrance of areas where smoking is prohibited, according to the ordinance. Smoking will also be banned in outdoor patios and seating areas of restaurants, bars and gambling facilities.

The law also includes smoking bans for outdoor shopping malls, city-owned facilities, outdoor arenas, recreational areas, playgrounds, outdoor public events, outdoor public transportation and in lines for a service.

That includes the popular Soda City Market, held every Saturday morning on Main Street.

The ordinance came as an update to Columbia’s existing laws on smoking, which were added to the city’s code of ordinances in 1998.

Fines for breaking the law initially fell at $25 dollars, but the updated ordinance will allow city officials to fine smokers $100 for their first violation. The second violation will result in a $200 fine, and any additional violation will land smokers with a $500 fine.

Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.