During the early days of electronic cigarettes in Europe, a common marketing ‘tactic’ among distributors was to say you could use them anywhere. Changing conditions have led many companies to abandon that line of reasoning as a standalone marketing strategy. However, the question remains – is it true that electronic cigarettes are legal in public?
The answer to that question, at least in the UK, is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ There are a number of things to consider in this regard:
- UK smoking ban
- definition of public places
- individual property rights.
We will look at all three in order to gain a better understanding of public vaping.
UK Smoking Ban
You are probably aware that the UK smoking ban put in place in 2007 effectively eliminated tobacco smoking of any kind from all public places. This included government buildings, pubs, restaurants, bus and train stations, etc.
The good news is that electronic cigarettes are not included in that ban. The main reason behind this is the fact that e-cigarettes do not produce smoke. By definition, the smoking ban only applies to practices that do produce smoke. On this basis alone, it is fair to assume electronic cigarettes are, unless otherwise stated, legal in public places in the UK.
Definition of Public Places
UK law defines a public place as any indoor or outdoor space accessible by the general public, whether freely or on payment. So even owners of private property are operating ‘public places’ if they normally allow the general public to access and use their property. Under this definition, public places include everything from the local pub to the park.
This definition is vitally important to the question of whether or not electronic cigarettes are legal in public. Why? Because UK law does not invalidate individual property rights merely by expanding the definition of a public place to include certain types of private property.
Individual Property Rights
Property owners in the UK retain the right to use their property as they see fit. Under current law, they also retain the right to decide whether vaping will be permitted on their premises or not. Simply put, property owners and/or managers can legally restrict the use of electronic cigarettes. There are plenty of examples of such restrictions already in place.
In summary, electronic cigarettes are legal in public places in the UK unless a property owner or manager objects. You can vape while hanging out with friends at the pub, while walking down the street in London, while riding in a taxi or while playing with your kids at the park.
What's more, you can do so without any real concern about ‘passive vaping’. A number of studies referenced by Boston University professor and tobacco control expert, Dr Michael Siegel, clearly show there is little to be concerned about in terms of second hand e-cigarette vapour. That's one of the reasons e-cigarettes continue to remain excluded from the UK smoking ban.
If you are still confused about the legality of e-cigarettes in public places, the best advice is to ask a property manager before you begin vaping on his or her premises. No such permission is required when walking down the street or using something like a public park.
VAPESTICK is here to supply you with high quality e-cigarettes you can use to either supplement or completely replace your tobacco. We are proud members of ECITA as well as one of the fastest growing e-cig companies in the UK.