Vaping has become a very popular alternative to harmful cigarettes. However, recent studies indicate that it is quite unsafe as well — as illustrated by severe injuries caused by vaping. Many associations want to implement HOA vaping rules to prevent vaping in HOA communities, but it may not be covered by local legislation or their governing documents. If your HOA is considering how to combat issues related to vaping, here are steps you can take.
What Is Vaping and Why Do You Need HOA Vaping Rules?
Compared to traditional smoking, vaping does not involve the lighting and burning of tobacco.
Vaping has become very popular among adults and the younger generation alike. This is because of the perception that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, that doesn’t mean that vaping is safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping has been linked to lung disease. Substances used in vaping can also increase your risk of cancer. There have also been cases of explosions and burns caused by defective batteries in e-cigarettes.
Due to the subtle difference between vaping and smoking, the former may not technically be outlawed in HOA regulations. For this reason, associations need to strategize effectively and create HOA vaping policies. They can limit where residents can vape to maintain safe standards within their communities.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Vaping in Your Community
1. Review the Governing Documents of Your HOA
Before deciding to make a definitive change, it is important to analyze the governing documents of your HOA carefully. If your HOA board of directors is still unsure, it may be wise to consult an attorney.
An HOA attorney can help ascertain which kinds of smoking are already prohibited in your community and what particular modifications are permissible under the existing bylaws of your HOA. It is always in the best interest of the HOA to stay within its governing document to avoid any controversies or legal issues.
2. Consider Adding an Amendment
If your HOA does not have a clear policy about vaping or a policy that simply cannot include vaping, it may be wise to consider adding an amendment to the bylaws of your HOA. HOAs can implement common area vaping rules. The amendment can state that there will be no vaping in common areas. It may even be possible to simply amend an existing clause about smoking to include vaping, as well.
Even though this process will be far from simple, it will be worthwhile in the long-term. Residents will be protected from the risks associated with vaping or being close to an individual who is vaping. Be sure that your HOA has a clear process in place for substantial changes to the governing documents to avoid a major pushback from residents who may be unsatisfied at the beginning with the transition.
3. Follow Periodic Updates About the Safety of Vaping and New Legislation
The one issue that makes vaping very complex for HOAs to tackle is that vaping is still very new. Granted, there have been several negative health incidents related to vaping; however, the extent of the damage that vaping causes is still yet to be decided.
While there is a transition period related to research and case studies, HOA board members have an obligation to remain informed of new discoveries that may impact the potential safety of their residents. If new information further confirms that vaping is dangerous to any individual that comes into contact with air close to it, then it is likely that more legislation will come forward to limit where vaping can take place.
The legislation that will be passed will likely be similar to how local, state, and federal governments protect individuals from secondhand smoke. Make sure your HOA is following new legislation or research. These can be used as a justification to change the governing rules of the HOA. You’ll be able to prevent residents from vaping in public areas or balconies within the community.
How to Help Your HOA Remain Current with New Technology & Legislation
Many HOAs have been around for over 20 years. HOAs need to ideally have a clause within their governing documents that enable the board of directors to adapt the rules of the HOA to the demands and risks of changing technology and legislation.
Smoking is an excellent example of something that used to be permitted 20 or 30 years ago but is no longer permitted in many public areas within the United States. Vaping is the next generation of smoking. It is now starting to have substantial issues worldwide, specifically with the health of users.
When a substantial shift such as vaping occurs in the marketplace, HOAs have to consider how that change may pose a risk to their community members. By considering these developments carefully, HOAs will be able to position themselves to have as smooth a transition as possible when they are required to shift fundamental rules in their governing documents due to changes in technology or legislation.
How to Implement HOA Vaping Rules in Your Community
Once your HOA’s bylaws have a clear policy on vaping, the board can start implementing their HOA vaping rules. Members of the community are required to comply with all HOA rules and regulations. Otherwise, they can be subjected to fines, sanctions, or even litigation in extreme cases.
To ensure compliance, it’s important to inform homeowners about your vaping policies. After amending the governing documents, it’s wise to have a seminar that will educate homeowners of the dangers of vaping and explain the reasoning behind your new HOA vaping rules. After, the board can start enforcing policies such as “no vaping in common areas.”
If you have a large community, the board of directors may not have enough manpower to enforce HOA vaping rules. It can be beneficial to have a community management company that can take over daily operations and enforce rules on the board’s behalf. Some managers can also provide legal assistance, especially when dealing with delicate matters such as vaping in HOAs.
Why There Is a Growing Need for HOA Vaping Rules
Despite a surge in popularity in recent years, there’s still so much we don’t know about vaping. While it may be safer than traditional smoking, a growing number of cases and research indicates that vaping can be quite dangerous as well. As part of the HOA board, it is your responsibility to protect homeowners from things that can affect their quality of life. That’s why most HOAs already have smoking policies in place.
Based on the information that we currently have, it’s in the best interest of HOAs to take the necessary steps to prevent vaping in their communities. This can be accomplished by amending your governing documents and properly enforcing HOA vaping rules. Though it may seem daunting, this process can be accomplished. You can always consult HOA management on how to proceed with this matter. If you want to know more about HOA vaping rules and proper enforcement, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.