Published: 10 July 2015
Q: There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about the banning of electronic cigarettes and I wondered whether this is something I should already be doing in my premises.
A: You are correct that there is an active debate at the moment regarding the potential health consequences of ‘vaping’ and Public Health England is currently in the process of completing its own research. As you know, in 2007, the Health Act 2006 restricted smoking in many public spaces and places of work. The prohibition applied to the smoking of tobacco or anything which contained tobacco. The Act even went so far as to prevent the smoking of any other substance, which included being in the possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked. The legislation effectively caught everything from hand rolled cigarettes to water pipes (shisha). With the rise of the e-cigarette, the Welsh Government has recently confirmed that vaping is likely to be banned in enclosed public spaces and workplaces from 2017, in line with the current prohibition on tobacco. Interestingly, as recently reported, the Department of Health has indicated to the PMA that England will not be following suit. You may be aware that a number of operators have already banned the use of e-cigarettes in their premises and various reasons have been provided for the prohibition, including the difficulty staff members have when attempting to identify whether customers are vaping or actually smoking tobacco. The topic will no doubt be debated for some time but as the law currently stands you are free to determine whether your premises are a vape free zone or not.
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