A Smoking Topic
You can’t walk down the street without passing someone using an e-cigarette. However, whether you are for or against the ‘fake’ cigarettes, with 2.8 million adults in the UK currently using them, according to a report from Action on Smoking and Health, it’s important to have clear guidelines in place for your establishment.
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are a battery powered alternative to cigarettes that turn an e-liquid into a vapour that is then inhaled, the difference is they don’t contain tobacco and cannot be lit.
What are e-liquids?
An e-cigarette contains an e-liquid made up of water, flavourings, propylene glycol and nicotine which is turned into a vapour when heated by the e-cigarette battery.
Disposable e-cigarettes that cannot be recharged known as ‘cigalikes’ are made to look like a real cigarette with a glowing red tip. Other varieties include closed-tank and open-tank e-cigarettes
which can be recharged and refilled with e-liquids. They do not resemble traditional cigarettes in appearance. Some open-tank e-cigarettes allow the user to control the power of the device and
strength of nicotine it emits.
Are they legal?
In the UK e-cigarettes can legally be used anywhere. The UK’s smokefree legislation only applies to products that contain tobacco and can be lit, therefore there are no laws that determine whether outlets should allow e-cigarettes to be used on their premises or not. However a new public health law in Wales, coming into force in 2017, bans people from using e-cigarettes in enclosed places. The decision was taken by ministers who argued that it will help reduce the risk of normalising smoking and stop children smoking. Meanwhile, bigger businesses like Wetherspoons, All Bar One, KFC, Starbucks and Caffe Nero have banned the use altogether. “Our pubs are very busy and it is difficult to see if a customer is using an e-cigarette or smoking a real cigarette,” said Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon. “We didn’t want our staff to be involved with any issues, so banned it.”
The company imposed the ban around five years ago and stated that very few people have been annoyed by the decision.
Why ban them?
Operators choose to ban vaping to avoid confusion between real cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The nuisance to non-smoking customers causes some operators to ban them. It is argued that people who share a room with an e-cigarette user are open to contaminations, including nicotine, however according to Public Health England there is no evidence so far of harm to bystanders from second hand vapour from e-cigs. If your premises are popular with young families, allowing e-cigarettes could potentially influence children in the future who are receptive to the behaviour of adults around them.
What can you do?
As a business owner it is up to you to administrate your own rules in your establishment. Your premises are a private place of business, therefore despite legislation you are entitled to have your own policies and procedures. Getting the correct balance between customers is vital before enforcing your own rules on e-cigarettes as you don’t want to jeopardise profits or drive away sales.
If you allow vaping
• Create a designated area(s)
• If a customer vaping is creating a nuisance for non-smoking ones, politely offer to move one of them to another seat or table
• Restrict use to your smoking shelter (if you have one)
If you don’t allow vaping
• Clearly state that you don’t allow vaping on your website and social media accounts
• Have a sign on the main door or inside the entrance and at the bar
• Brief all staff in order that they are aware of the rules