(and one state to avoid completely!)
By Matt Rowland
There are certain cities in the United States that seem to welcome vaping enthusiasts with open arms. Others are not so friendly, passing countless city ordinances and state legislation nearly banning the practice of public vaping completely. For vapers who travel throughout the country for work or pleasure, finding the local hot spots for vaping can be a challenge. Here are the Top 5 Vape Friendliest Cities in America, along with an entire state that vaping fans should probably avoid at all costs.
While vaping on government property is banned, Denver currently has no laws on the books that restrict public vaping in other venues. In fact, business owners can make the decision themselves to allow public vaping or not. As a result, this city boasts a wide variety of nightclubs, restaurants and other privately owned establishments that market their businesses specifically toward the vaping community. Check out places like the Funky Buddha Lounge, the Meadowlark Nightclub or Gold Creek Casinos to mingle with the local vaping culture.
Denver and its surrounding neighborhoods also have more than 150 vape shops filled with the latest box mods, mechanical mods and e-liquid blends on the market. For manufacturers of vaping technology, Denver is a primary market, which means that visiting vapers will likely see some of the most intriguing vaping paraphernalia imaginable. For these reasons, the Mile High City quickly is becoming the center of the vaping universe in America.
Seattle always seems to march to the beat of a different drummer. From grunge rock to designer coffee, this metropolitan area never is afraid to be the first to combine alternative cultures with mainstream lifestyles. It also rates as one of the Top 10 Greenest Cities in America in 2015, according to The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/22/greenest-cities-america_n_7112500.html).
With more than 150 vape shops and several bars and nightclubs that welcome the vaping community, visitors to Seattle will have no trouble finding places to congregate. Vaping is allowed while walking down the street and in many of the city’s beautiful parks. Vapers can roam freely without fear of getting a fine from the local police.
However, Washington is facing some of the most prohibitive anti-vaping legislation in the country. If these laws pass, Seattle may quickly become less vaper-friendly. Thankfully, this Pacific Northwest city also is home to many vaping advocacy groups, like the Pink Lung Brigade, that work day and night to prevent this legislation from passing.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The state of Virginia has no bans on public vaping, and the quaint town of Virginia Beach offers the perfect seaside destination for vaping enthusiasts. With a population fewer than 500,000, Virginia Beach offers a surprisingly large number of vape-friendly restaurants and nightclubs. Some of the more popular places that vapers gather include Buckethead’s Restaurant, the Seaside Raw Bar and the Young Veterans Brewery Company. There is even a concert arena that allows public vaping. Farm Bureau Live is a 20,000-seat outdoor auditorium that allows unrestricted vaping to live bands right on the beach. Mango’s is another live music venue that also welcomes the vaping community, while the charming downtown area provides different vape shops staffed with friendly locals who are always willing to help out-of-town vacationers.
Tampa is located right on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, but it is also just a short drive across a bridge to the neighboring beach towns of St. Petersburg and Clearwater. With no laws or policies in place restricting public vaping, visitors have a wide selection of vape-friendly restaurants, nightclubs and beaches at their disposal. In fact, nearly every beach bar, seaside restaurant and local gift shop in St. Pete and Clearwater are vaper-friendly.
Even the Tampa shopping malls and airports welcome the vaping community. Both the International and West Shore Plaza shopping centers allow public vaping. And when landing at the Tampa International Airport, visitors arriving to the Sunshine State will likely see fellow travelers vaping while waiting to board their flights. Tampa is also home to one of the nation’s largest vaping conventions, the Vaping Convention Circuit (VCC), which attracts thousands of new vendors and political activists every year.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the city that distributes free alcoholic beverages at blackjack tables and allows public smoking of tobacco cigarettes at slot machines. Anything goes in Sin City, including public vaping. Visitors can even vape in many of the hotel rooms, too.
Las Vegas has almost 50 local vape shops and is also home to the increasingly popular Vape Summit, a yearly event held at the city’s convention center. Like Tampa, Las Vegas is another major metropolitan area with a vape-friendly airport. Count your casino earnings and hit your vape pen while waiting for your flight home at the McCarran International Airport.
And the state to avoid completely… Hawaii!
Although the Aloha State is a popular vacation destination for travelers around the world, it is perhaps for this very reason that Hawaii is not very hospitable toward vaping advocates. Its white sandy beaches and crisp ocean breezes lend to an almost magical atmosphere that is unlike any other on the planet. And, Hawaii seemingly wants to keep it that way. It is the very first state to raise the legal age for buying any type of tobacco-related product to 21 years of age.
Public vaping is strictly prohibited in Hawaii, both outdoors and inside public venues. Unlike Denver, local business owners cannot decide whether or not to allow public vaping. And beware of pulling out a vape pen while sunbathing on one of Hawaii’s many pristine beaches. If you do, you can expect a firm reprimand and a hefty fine from one of the beach patrol. For vapers in search of a tropical getaway, avoid Hawaii and head to Virginia Beach, Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater instead.
Find more of Matt Rowland’s work at http://RastaVapors.com