Is it legal to vape in public?

Using electronic cigarettes in public

Electronic Cigarette close up

Now the last thing you want is to get on the wrong side of the law. I’ve been there a few times and I can tell you it’s not a pretty or a fun place to be. So I’ve done a fair bit of investigation of my own to try and determine where the law stands on vaping in public. Seems relatively simple. The Health Act 2006 which was the policy which implemented the smoking ban in the UK, refers to smoking as;

- “smoking” refers to smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, and

- smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

So, due to electronic cigarettes not including tobacco and not being lit in any way, the use of an electronic cigarette is not classed as ‘smoking’

Vaping also does not produce any second hand smoke and therefore does not comprimise any policies around ‘passive smoking’. Therefore it’s safe to say they are not regulated by the smoking ban nor restricted by the law.

 

This is also confirmed by Ian Gray, Policy Officer at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health who issued a paper as part of his role as a regulatory advisor on the 8th September 2008 entitled ‘CIEH response to Department of Health consultation on the future of tobacco control. It stated;

 

 

“They are perfectly legal to use because, in our view, this isn’t smoking. If people are using them it’s very unlikely that a local authority would want to make a prosecution as the legislation is to protect people from second-hand smoke but if there is none of that then there’s not really a basis for a prosecution.”

So it is perfectly legal to smoke or vape anywhere you fancy. However, when it comes to your place of work, your employer may well choose not to allow vaping on the premises, so I would always recommend checking their policies before you do.

 

Written by Rob Patrick

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