Vaping indoors: what's the law?
The rules around using vape pens and e-cigarettes in public can seem confusing. We're here to clear everything up.
Since the introduction of the smoking ban more than a decade ago, vape pens and e-cigarettes have become more popular. But the rules around using them, particularly in public places, have never been more confusing. Usually when a place that you consider to be ‘public’ bans vape devices, it’s because it’s a private premises and the land owner doesn’t want people vaping there.
So where can you vape in public, and what considerations are there before you whip out your blu device? We’ve delved into your biggest questions and compiled some answers below.
Where is it legal to vape?
Let’s start with where you can vape. As the old saying goes, an Englishman’s home is his castle. It’s your choice whether or not to vape in your home, assuming you own it rather than rent it from a landlord. If you are renting, check the details of your tenancy agreement or ask the landlord if vaping is allowed. In theory the same rules apply to your own private car – at least until you turn the engine on! for more information on vaping in a car.
Away from the home, you won’t usually face problems anywhere that’s considered public land. That includes parks and recreation grounds, urban spaces, public streets, pavements and other open spaces that you have right of access to. However, there are some places that you might expect to be public but that actually aren’t – particularly when it comes to public transport. In the UK, most bus, train and tram operators do not allow passengers to vape while on board. Transport hubs like train stations and airports are almost exclusively owned by private companies, most of which do not allow the use of e-cigarettes.
Can you vape indoors?
Vaping is not prohibited by the smoking ban so, unlike cigarettes, it’s not automatically illegal to vape in enclosed public spaces such as bars, restaurants and nightclubs. That means it’s the choice of the venue owner whether to allow you to vape. Nowadays, many locations ask customers not to vape for various reasons – some people don’t like the smell of flavoured vapour while others worry that e-liquid vapour could be confused for cigarette smoke. That could encourage other customers to smoke, which is obviously against the law.
Always respect the wishes of the venue owner when thinking about whether or not to vape in an enclosed public space. If a venue has a ‘no smoking’ sign, it might include details of whether e-cigarettes are included or exempted. If you’re still not sure, ask for permission to use your vape pen rather than just going ahead and doing it – some venue owners will understand and may be hospitable to you, but you should respect their wishes if not.
Can you vape in a car?
It depends. Let’s start with a moving car. Although vaping while driving is not a specific criminal offence, it’s highly likely that it would fall under ‘driving without due care and attention’ or ‘dangerous driving’, particularly if you’re involved in a collision. The same laws cover anything that takes your attention away from the road – that could be eating, reading a map, changing the radio or generally not being focused on your driving. Vaping as a passenger in a car is not a problem, so long as you have the permission of the driver.
It’s important to remember that rules around smoking do not necessarily apply to vaping in the same way. For example, there are no specific laws around vaping in company-owned cars, but you should check with your employer before using your e-cig.
Find more information from blu about vaping locations, including where you can vape and where you usually cannot.