Over the past decade, vaping has become increasingly popular in the UK as a tool for quitting smoking.
While vaping is considered safer than smoking, with many doctors recommending the use of e-cigarettes as an effective way of stopping smoking, not everyone is yet convinced of the positive benefits of vaping and E-Liquid in the UK.
Concerns about areas that still need further study, such as the effects of secondhand vapour, have led to restrictions and regulations about the use of vape devices in public places.
To help you work out where you can and can’t vape, we’ve put together a guide to explain the laws and restrictions that may prevent you from vaping in the UK.
Laws About Vaping
There are currently no laws in place that make vaping anywhere illegal. While the 2007 smoking ban made smoking in enclosed public spaces and in the workplace illegal, the law did not include the use of vapes.
However, this does not mean that you can just vape wherever you want.
Vaping in Public Places
The decision as to whether or not vaping is allowed in a particular premises or space is up to the owner of that business or space. As such, there are many restaurants, bars, museums and shops that include vaping in their ‘no smoking’ policy.
The majority of chain restaurants in the UK, such as Starbucks and KFC, have banned vaping in all of their branches.
As there are no laws against vaping, in most cases you should not face legal repercussions, but you will be asked to leave the premises. It is also common courtesy to follow each businesses vaping policy.
You should go to each place you visit with the mindset that vaping is not allowed, rather than strolling in in a plume of vapour.
Vaping in Sports Stadiums and Music Venues
Rules on vaping vary between venues, so you should check with the stadium you are visiting before you go. Larger stadiums, like Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, tend to have strict bans in place, whereas smaller clubs often have slightly more relaxed rules.
Likewise, most large music venues do not permit vaping, while smaller venues have a slightly more relaxed view of e-cigarettes. Make sure to check a stadium or venue’s website before attending an event, or ask a member of staff about the vaping policy.
Vaping While Driving
Vaping while you drive is not illegal, but it should be done with caution. As a cloud of vapour has the potential to obstruct a driver’s vision, you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention if your car looks full of vapour or your vision is impaired as a result.
This can lead to up to nine points on your license and a £2,500 fine if you are found to have not been in full control of your vehicle.
If you want to vape in the car, make sure you are using a device that does not produce big vapour clouds, and try to blow the vapour out of the window rather than keeping it in the car.
Vaping on Public Transport
Vaping is generally banned on transport such as buses, trains and planes. If you are caught vaping on transport, such as planes and trains, where e-cigarettes are banned, then you could face prosecution.
Can you Vape on Trains?
Vaping is banned on most trains and train station platforms. The use of e-cigarettes is banned on the Eurostar, Virgin Trains, TFL, Thameslink, Southern Railways, Southeasters, Great Nother, London Midland, Gatwick Express and ScotRail. Vaping is also banned on the London Underground.
Can you Vape on Buses?
The policies for vaping on buses and coaches depend on the company with which you are travelling. You should check with the bus operator before you vape.
Vaping is banned on London buses, as part of the wider Transport For London ban on vaping. National Express ban vaping on board their coaches, and if you are caught vaping, then you will be removed from the coach without a refund.
Can you Vape on Planes?
Many airlines have banned vaping on board, including British Airways, Easyjet, Jet2, Ryanair, Thomas Cook and Virgin Atlantic.
If you are flying with a vape, then there are a few other things to consider. Firstly, the vape must be packed in your hand luggage. E-Liquids must be in bottles under 100ml and packed in a sealable plastic bag with your other liquids, like toiletries.
You should also consider your destination. On the whole, the UK is fairly supportive of vaping, whereas, in many other countries around the world, there are far stricter restrictions or even bans on e-cigarettes.
Before you fly, you must check the laws and rules of the country you are flying to.
Vaping Regulations in the UK
Most of the regulations that affect the vaping industry in the UK are in regards to the way products are produced, advertised and sold.
There are strict regulations in place to limit the percentage of nicotine that can be found in E-Liquid. In the UK, E-Liquid is restricted to a strength of 20mg/ml. Rules are also in place regarding the capacity of E-Liquid containers and cartridges. E-Liquid containers must be no more than 10ml, and cartridges can only contain 2ml.
By law, manufacturers are not allowed to state that their products are safer than cigarettes. This is despite the fact that Public Health England have concluded that vaping is 95% safer than smoking.
Vape manufacturers have to gain government approval for new products before they can be sold to the public. There is a six month grace period between an item being submitted and for it to be able to be sold to the public.
However, all of these rules and restrictions are in place to ensure high standards and safety for all vapers.
With more and more research revealing the ways in which vaping can be beneficial to those trying to stop smoking, attempts have been made to make access to vaping easier.
In 2018, MPs began discussing the availability of e-cigarettes through the NHS on prescription. There have also been calls to make vaping legal in offices and other indoor spaces to allow smokers to quit more easily.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping is also attempting to have it publicly announced that vaping is less risky than smoking.
We can only hope that future changes to legislation will allow for vaping to become more welcomed and accepted as the useful way of quitting smoking it is!