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Smoking has been banned in indoor places since the mid 2000’s, several years before Vaping was even a thing. Therefore there remains some confusion amongst people out there now regarding the laws about Vaping indoors in public places. Can they? Can’t they? And this is what I’m going to explore in this blog!
I’m going to take a look at the do’s and don’ts when it comes to Vaping in public and explain where you might be able to get away with it, and where you certainly won’t be allowed and could end up in some serious hot water if you did! Let’s get into it!
The Introduction of the UK Smoking Ban
Smoking in enclosed public spaces was banned in England, Wales and Northern Ireland way back in 2007 with Scotland putting the ban into place a year prior in 2006. Seems considerably longer than that, but that is the definite date that the ban came into place according to my research.
The reasons for this ban coming into force was to protect non smokers, especially children and older people due to the discovery of just how bad passive smoking can be to somebody, which is involuntarily inhaling cigarette smoke from a nearby smoker.
At the time of this coming into force, it was hailed as “one of the biggest public health interventions seen in the last 15 years” and I agree with that statement, as it really has had a massive impact. Gone are the days of hazy smoke filled pubs, clubs and restaurants that I remember going into when I was younger, now the smokers are forced outside to designated smoking areas no matter the weather, which in turn did lead to some disgruntled feelings amongst the smoking constituency in the UK.
What Effects Did The Smoking Ban Have?
From what I can see and understand, the smoking ban did exactly what the Government had hoped, and that was pushing people into changing their habits and quitting smoking. This is widely because people who were wanting to quit smoking wouldn’t be surrounded by smokers if they went into a public place such as a bar, or a pub, as the smokers would now be relegated to outside.
This also played a part in making people consider quitting as they simply did not want to be forced outside whatever the weather just to have a cigarette. To give some figures to relate to this, 22% of the UK adult population were smokers in 2006, and by 2015, the number had dwindled down to 18% which is a pretty significant drop I think you’ll agree.
And within three months after the smoking ban was enforced, the sales of cigarettes in the UK dropped by a staggering 6.3% which is huge! So the effects that this ban had was definitely positive ones in my opinion.
Is Vaping Banned In Public Places?
So we now come on to the question in topic, and that is does vaping fall under the same category as smoking and is it banned in public places? Well, not quite…
Obviously the smoking ban was initiated before Vaping really became a thing, so there wasn’t anything to consider regarding adding vaping in to the ban. And there hasn’t really been any clear cut rules and regulations come into effect like what there is for smoking.
This is because Vaping and smoking are two different things, and the effects of Vaping in notably less harmful than what smoking is. There’s not been any proven evidence to show either that “passive vaping” is harmful to a person, like what passive smoking is. This is because vapour is made up of particles and quickly disperses in the air, unlike smoke which tends to linger round and this is when it is involuntarily inhaled by people nearby to a smoker.
Whilst Vaping indoors in public places isn’t against the law like what smoking is, it isn’t permitted in quite a lot of public places still and unfortunately if you’re indoors somewhere and want to have a vape, you’re going to have to join the smokers outside, whatever the weather!
However, it does ultimately come down to the discretion of the owner of the building on whether or not they allow Vaping inside. For example, a couple of local pubs to me will allow the use of E-Cigs inside, as long as they’re not fog machines, so it’s worth checking with the landlords. Big chain pubs like Wetherspoons don’t allow it from my experience.
Can You Vape On Public Transport?
When it comes to public transport, the rules are the same for Vaping as they are for smoking which means it’s not allowed unfortunately!
There isn’t any form of public transport that allows the use of E-Cigarettes, and here in the UK if you get caught using an E-Cigarette on a bus, plane or train, you’re gonna end up landing yourself in more trouble than what it’s worth just for the sake of a crafty puff!
Public transport was included on the list of places where smoking would be banned back in 2006. It’s mad to think that Planes used to have designated smoking seats at the rear of the plane for people to sit back and smoke whilst mid air, I’m not joking either, this really did used to happen!
It was included as these are classed as enclosed spaces, therefore meaning the risk for people was relatively high to end up passive smoking which is what they Government wanted to stamp out by bringing in this smoking ban.
Can You Vape In The Work Place?
Ah yes, another grey area when it comes to whether or not Vaping is permitted. In 2016, Public Health England released a guide for workplaces to establish a clear and reasonable policy for allowing the use of E-Cigarettes inside the work place, and I must say, it was pretty good and offered a lot of help to workplaces that may not be sure on what to say or do.
Smoking certainly is not permitted as this was one of the public places on the list back in 2006, but the use of E-Cigarettes ultimately comes down to the owner of the work place either permitting or denying the use of them.
I mean, you certainly couldn’t if you worked in a big chain store for example, but I know of some offices or independent businesses that will allow workers to use E-Cigarettes in the office, providing they’re not absolute fog machines! This also is a benefit to employers as well, as this means productivity of workers who are vapers will remain consistent as they won’t want to consistently be going out for vape breaks, thus not interrupting their day and being able to continue working whilst puffing away. See, vaping has it perks doesn’t it!
And now we reach the conclusion of this article, and I hope I’ve provided a bit more of an insight to where Vaping is permitted in public places and helped answer any questions you may have had.
The best thing to do if you’re unsure of whether or not you can use your device in a public place is to look for signage which should be clearly displayed, and of course observe whatever they say and stick to the rulings.
Some pubs may allow it, but just not having any signs up saying this, so always double check before just taking it upon yourself to have a puff!