Where Can I Vape in the UK?
- 06 Feb
- SMOKO E-Cigarettes
Vaping is one of the best things that has happened to many of us, and the freedom it gives us can be amazing for long term smokers. With no 2nd hand smoke and virtually no smell there is no danger to anyone around us when we vape, and our clothes and possessions don’t smell of stale smoke anymore.
Because e-cigarettes contain no tobacco they also do not fall into the anti-smoking law, so theoretically they can be used anywhere.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can puff away anywhere! Private companies have started to ban the use of e-cigarettes, so today we are asking, where can you vape in the UK?
Laws on Vaping and E-cigarettes
At the moment, there is nothing in law about where you can vape, so you can theoretically vape anywhere you want. As e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and only produce vapour (which only contains nicotine, propane glycol, vegetable glycerine), there is nothing in the vapour that can harm other people around you.
Public Health England, the UK government body which focuses on national health issues, has said that to date there is no evidence whatsoever that 2nd hand vapour is harmful. The NHS also states on their website that vapour is nothing to worry about, unlike 2nd hand smoke which can have a huge effect on people who breathe it in.
There are some places though that have banned the use of e-cigarettes inside their property. Whether the bans are due to misinformation on the danger of vapour or just because they don’t like the plumes of vapour the bigger vapourisers make, business owners have the right to ban e-cigarettes from their premises. And if you break these rules you can be liable to fines or even prosecution.
That’s why it’s important to check before you start vaping, as you don’t want to be fined for just taking a puff on your e-cigarette!
In general, these are the places that ban e-cigarettes at the moment:
a) Most public transport, including taxis, buses and trains
b) Airplanes and airports – for more information click here
c) The London Underground
d) Museums and art galleries
e) Most hospitals and health centres (although this is changing)
When it comes to pubs, clubs and restaurants, knowing if you are allowed to vape can be a bit trickier. It will be entirely dependent on each venue, as some places are happy for you to stay inside and vape (because you will spend more time and hopefully more money!) while other places class e-cigs as the same as cigarettes and you will be forced outside.
Take Wetherspoons for example. It is one of the biggest chain of pubs in the UK and has a ban on all e-cigarettes as they say their staff find it difficult to tell the difference between cigarettes and e-cigarettes. For many publicans or business owners, they can be fined for allowing cigarettes to be smoked indoors, so it is a blanket percussion that many business operators take.
The best advice we can give is then is to ask someone before you pull out your e cigarette. Unlike 5 years ago, most people know what an e-cigarette is now, and most venues will have an e-cigarette policy already in effect.
As a rough guide though if you can see prominent signs saying no smoking, then the venue probably also bans using an e-cigarette inside.
Vaping While Driving
Unlike cigarettes there is no law saying you can’t use an e-cigarette in your car, even if other people or children are in the vehicle. E-cigarettes don’t harm people with the 2nd hand vapour produced, unlike cigarettes and the 2nd hand smoke they produce which is even more dangerous in a car. In fact 2nd hand smoke from cigarettes is 11 times more concentrated in a car than in a room. That’s of course why you can be fined for smoking cigarettes in the car with a child.
You can get in trouble if your vapour is filling up the car to the point that your vision is obscured. The law the police use is the same one that governs other handheld devices and boils down to if your device is distracting you from driving then you can receive up to 9 points on your licence or be fined. It’s not a small fine either, if you are stopped you can be charged £2,500 for vaping while driving.
It makes sense after all, if you are driving on a motorway the last thing you should have is a huge cloud of vapour obscuring your vision!
Luckily if you are using a smaller e-cigarette, this won’t really be an issue as they produce the same amount of vapour as a cigarette does smoke, so there is no chance for the vapour to fill up the car and distract you from driving. E-cigarettes are also extremely easy to use, so there is very little to distract you from driving.
If you are using a bigger vapouriser which produces a lot of vapour however then you need to be careful where your vapour is going. The easiest solution is to blow the vapour out the window of course, and make sure that you aren’t fiddling around with the voltage or changing a coil while driving.
Vaping While at Work
This will be up to your workplace, but as of yet there are no laws on vaping at the workplace.
If your work the public transport sector or the healthcare sector then vaping is probably not allowed, but if you are working in an office then it might be a different story.
A company that encourages e-cigarette use inside the workplace can reap huge rewards from getting their staff off cigarettes and onto e-cigarettes. Smoking can be a huge drain on a company due to the excess amount of time spent on smoking breaks. With an average of 4 breaks per smoker a day, that is 40 minutes a day where a smoker is not actively working but rather on a break. This doesn’t even account for the 10 minutes before the smoking break where productivity plummets as the smoker is preparing for their break.
Smokers also get ill more often than non-smokers due to the 4000+ chemicals in cigarettes, so have to take an average of 8 extra days off work a year.
Through cigarette breaks and extra sick days, cigarettes cost employers £1,815 a year per smoker! By encouraging employees to make the switch to e-cigarettes companies can save a huge amount of money each year. And more importantly employers can benefit from healthier and happier staff.
By switching to E-cigarettes smokers also save a huge amount as well, with SMOKO being up to 80% cheaper than cigarettes. If a smoker is buying a pack a day at the average price of £10 they would spend £3650, with SMOKO they would be spending up to £2 a day, or over a year £730. That is a saving of over £2900 a year!
So if your work doesn’t have a clear policy for e-cigarettes, then make sure they know that by allowing people to vape inside and encouraging e-cigarettes they can save themselves and their staff a huge amount of money!
Vaping in the UK
To sum up, vaping is technically allowed anywhere as there are no rules to say you can’t, but it will ultimately be up to the policies of the owners or managers of each place to decide.
Laws do change though, and they can change fast, so it’s always important to double check to make sure that you can vape in peace. The good news is that there has been a trend in Parliament with cross party support for E-cigarettes. It could be that in the near future the UK parliament will specifically say that vaping is ok at work and on public transport, but for now the best advice is that you should always ask before you start using your e-cigarette.