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Can you smoke e-cigs in a restaurant?

Can I allow patrons to smoke e-cigs?

Q: I own a small restaurant in the City Centre and, during the course of last week, a customer had his meal and then took out an electronic cigarette and proceeded to smoke. Initially, I thought this was a real cigarette and therefore requested him to leave the premises to smoke, in accordance with the requirements under the Health Act 2006. However, he stated it was an electronic cigarette, and that he has a right to smoke it as ‘vaping’ electronic cigarettes on licensed premises is not illegal. What are my rights as licensee?

A: There is nothing which prevents electronic cigarettes being smoked in a public place. The Health Act 2006 restricts the smoking of tobacco or anything containing tobacco. Electronic cigarettes are tobacco free and therefore he is legally allowed to vape his cigarette in pubs, restaurants, cinemas and even on aeroplanes! Not enough is known about electronic cigarettes, and ongoing research is being conducted in relation to their effect on health. However, you are certainly within your rights to ban the use of electronic cigarettes on your premises. In fact, there are a number of operators who have already done this. You should additionally note that if you are operating under your Premises Licence, you do have a right to ask any person who is acting in a disorderly manner to leave the premises when requested to do so. Their failure to leave would constitute a criminal offence under section 143 of the Licensing Act 2003.

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