e-cigarettes are up 340% in the past year means the issue of smoking – or 'vaping' – in public places is once again being talked about.
At present the smoking ban introduced in 2007 doesn’t cover e-cigarettes. According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH):
"In the UK, smokefree law applies only to substances that are lit and can be smoked. As electronic cigarettes do not create smoke they do not fall under this legislation and can be used in enclosed public places. However, it is up to individual organisations and businesses to decide whether they believe it is appropriate or not for the devices to be used on their premises."They go on to suggest:
"In the UK, smokefree legislation exists to protect the public from the demonstrable harms of secondhand smoke. ASH does not consider it appropriate for electronic cigarettes to be subject to this legislation."
So, much like a dress code, at present it is up to each venue to decide on their own e-smoking policy. But the trouble with leaving it to the manager’s discretion is that it creates confusion, seems unenforceable, and has the potential to annoy other guests. Some London restaurants have already considered a ban, with Simon Mullins, co-founder of the Salt Yard group of tapas bars saying
e-smokers should go outside. (And this despite him being a smoker himself.)
Restaurateur Russell Norman, currently saving British restaurants from themselves as BBC Two's The Restaurant Man, says:
@foodjournalist @ChefTomKerridge We don’t have a policy. They don’t bother me personally but I know some customers get very upset.
— Russell Norman (@Ape451) March 3, 2014
So it seems the issue is divisive. But what do you think? Should they be banned? Would you choose not to eat in a venue that let people use e-cigarettes? Or maybe you’re an e-smoker and would deliberately choose to eat in a venue that did allow e-smoking? Take our poll and talk to us in the comments box below.