The "vape community" thinks that's unfair; that the ban will make it hard for cigarette smokers to manage their cravings and wean themselves from tobacco.
But the limitations seem right to me. If you're a smoker, you've already adjusted to restrictions on lighting up. And if you've already managed to kick the habit, the last thing you need is some guy on the barstool next to you blowing vapor rings.
There's no consensus yet about e-cigs' effect on teens; they've only been around since 2009. Some studies say they might improve health prospects of youth who smoke by supplanting tobacco. Others suggest that young people who might never touch cigarettes will be primed to consider smoking acceptable if they learn on e-cigs to inhale.
California prohibits the sale of e-cigs to anyone under 18, but I've heard middle-schoolers bragging about the fun of vaping. That's reason enough to steer grown-up vapers to private bars and lounges, out of sight of impressionable young minds.
I could see, hanging out in the Vapor Spot, why adults might like it.
For some it's the familiarity, the hand-to-mouth movement that mimics the rituals of a cigarette habit. For others, it's a prop that makes it easy to socialize.
There's a vape community now of gourmets and hobbyists; connoisseurs who customize expensive vape pens, seek out vape clubs, sponsor vape meets, hang out at vape lounges for hours, mixing palate-pleasing e-cig fuel from flavored liquid samples.
"It's less about the act of vaping and more a communal thing," said a Vapor Spot employee, whose job seemed part bartender, part barista; mixing, teaching, chatting customers up. "It's like a steaming cup of good coffee, after a meal."
I suspect the new regulations will feed that culture, not starve it.
In fact, I think investing in vapor bars might be smarter than mining bitcoins right now.