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Where can you vape? Kennewick!

In that haven of democracy, Kennewick, Washington, business owners may decide for themselves whether patrons may vape in their establishments, reports KULR8 News of nearby Billings, Montana. It appears that, when it comes to applying real democracy, some in the freedom-loving far west are ahead of big cities like Chicago and New York, where overprotective governments, uninformed ones at that, keep all would-be cig-quitters out in the cold with their erstwhile smoking buddies.

Kennewick is a city of roughly 75,000 inhabitants that is part of the tri-cities region of southeastern Washington state (the other two are Pasco and Richland), and is currently noted for extraordinary job growth, apparently due to the expansion of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the economic health of local farms. Billings, in south central Montana (on the other side of a slender slice of Idaho), is that state's largest city, and currently noted for economic hyper-growth.

The local arena for sports and large concerts is the Toyota Center, and it is one facility that has opted to treat e-cigarettes like combustible ones. Says director Corey Pearson, "Whether it's a hockey game, a concert, or a football game, when you see a puff of smoke, we treat it the same way." Not everyone is happy with that, but at least vapers know that there will be public places where they can vape, since there is no city ordinance against public vaping.

"It's still nicotine, You have to be 18 to get it," says vaper Josh Colean, who doesn't mind standing with the smokers when he vapes, because "they are still new."

Susan Shelton, a Benton-Franklin Health District Environmental Health Specialist, hopes more research will soon be completed to "make sure the public stays safe as it possibly can."

Meanwhile, in benighted France, vapers will soon be banished from many public spaces, hélas! Vaping will be banned on public transportation and in closed work spaces, if the parliament passes a bill sponsored by health minister Marisol Touraine. The bill is linked to a plain-packaging measure for cigarettes, echoing measures already in effect in Australia. "This is an important moment in the fight against tobacco," said Mme. Touraine. What a pity she includes electronic cigarettes on the wrong side in that fight.

In the US, 172 municipalities had included electronic cigarettes in their public smoking bans as of April 2014, and that number is still growing. In New York City, you can still vape in vaping supplies emporiums and lounges, but that right is still in doubt in Chicago. Three states (North Dakota, New Jersey, and Utah) have banned public vaping in all smoke free environments, but it is the cities that have been the most restrictive in this regard.

What's the answer? Move to Kennewick, I guess!