I saw quite a few people smoking on Opening Day at Petco Park. It surprised me for two reasons. First, because Petco Park was the first smoke free ballpark in 2006. Second, Fox Sports San Diego has been running those gross anti-smoking commercials featuring stomas non-stop during Padres games.
I photographed a group of Navy guys smoking right next to a security guard and "No Smoking" sign [pictured above]. Of those I saw smoking, some had paper cigarettes, but most were using electronic cigarettes.
I've never smoked myself, but I get the fact that people want to smoke. From time to time even I'll get the craving after a really satisfying play by the Padres. In such a case I'll roll up and pretend to smoke my ticket stub. I'll usually take a long drag off of it, exhale, then either rub it out on my arm rest or flick it away at the conclusion of the inning.
I decided to investigate by asking Twitter if using electronic cigarettes was allowed. After all they don't produce smoke, just water vapor. Maybe that was the reason they seemed to be so prevalent.
Do the #Padres allow electronic cigarettes to be used at Petco Park?— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) April 11, 2013
From the responses I got, everyone saw lots of people using electronic cigarettes and no one really knew if they were legal. Except for one Gaslamp Baller, who shall remain nameless, who got busted.
Here's Petco Park's official rule:
- Petco Park is a smoke-free facility. Guests who wish to utilize standard or electronic smoking devices at a Petco Park event are required to utilize the designated locations outside the ballpark. Guests wishing to exit the ballpark and return to the same event must receive a re-entry stamp from gate personnel.
- As it turns out Petco Park is one of the only handful of ballparks that directly addresses electronic cigarettes in their rules. Others include Safeco, Kauffman, The Great American and Chase. It may not be allowed in other parks either, so you'll have to ask or risk getting a stern talking to.