At the moment, e-cigarettes are not covered by the legislation that bans people from smoking indoors. This is because smoking requires a substance to be burnt, and nothing burns in an e-cigarette when the user is vaping. However, while there are no nationwide laws preventing use, venues are allowed to apply their own rules at their own discretion, and many do so – often to the detriment of vapers.
Nationwide pub chains Wetherspoons and Mitchell and Butlers have implemented a vaping ban across all pubs in the country. The Wetherspoons website explains in its FAQ section: “We do not permit the use of electronic cigarettes or vaporisers outside of the designated smoking areas on our premises. This includes hotel rooms and external areas.”
The Mitchell and Butlers site features a similar statement: “For the comfort of all our guests Mitchells & Butlers do not allow the use of electronic cigarettes within our premises. Although we realise that the fumes are just vapours and non-harmful this is not clearly understood by everyone and can lead to confusion for others. Therefore, to prevent this, we request that guests do not use this product in our premises.”
Vaping in pubs becomes less clear when leased venues are taken into account. Enterprise is a leased and tenanted pub company, which means their venues are let out to individual operators. It is these operators who run every aspect of the venue, rather than Enterprise, and as such decisions such as use or non-use of e-cigarettes is left to those individuals. This means that while one Enterprise pub may allow vaping, another may forbid it.
The best thing to do is to ask a member of staff at the establishment itself – and that applies for any pub that doesn’t have a clear rule. Where vaping in public places is concerned, it’s always best to play it safe and get clear confirmation before using your device.
Image: Gavin Mills