Where Can You Vape in the UK

Tammy Taylor

While vaping is much more commonly seen and enjoyed than it ever has been before, there are still misunderstandings about where it is ok to vape. While vaping isn't governed the same way as smoking is in the UK there are still rules to follow. As well as this, there are unofficial courtesy rules that need to be followed. Don't be that vaper who fills a small space full of non-vapers with banana flavoured vapour. Learn more about where it is ok to vape, where it isn't and where more care should be taken.

Vaping Regulations in the UK

The Go Smoke Free legislation that came into play in 2007 effectively banned smoking in the majority of public places. It became illegal to smoke on public transport, at work, in clubs, pubs and eateries and public building. This ban was put in place by Public Health England to protect the health of non-smokers and to reduce the overall harm associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes. Vaping isn't governed under the Go Smoke Free rules.

While there isn't a blanket ban on vaping in public owners of any property have the right to refuse permission to smoke. Hospitals and school grounds have standard no smoking and no vaping bans in place. While vaping isn't illegal in public place it generally isn't allowed. If in any doubt, ask the property owner before considering getting out your e cigarette.

Vaping At Your Workplace

Smoking at work is a no-go, certainly indoors. Some employers allow smokers to take a cigarette break outside somewhere that won't impact non-smokers by posing a passive smoking risk. If your employer has a strict no smoking or vaping ban, you don't have much say in the matter.

Vaping at work rules may change in the future. Public Health England who strongly supports vaping as an alternative to smoking is lobbying the government for improved access to vaping. What this will look like and how it will work remains to be seen.

Stadiums and Other Outdoor Venues

Whether you're a Vampire Vape Manchester United fan or a Wembley Stadium concert-goer, you may well have to leave your ecig behind. Many large stadiums, concert halls, theatres and similar have a no-vape ban in place. Breaking this rule could be enough to result in you being asked to leave so it isn't worth the risk. Check in advance whether vaping at these types of venues is ok. You might find that smaller outdoor events and festivals are more relaxed about vaping. Again, do check first and if vaping around others, be courteous.

Can You Vape in Restaurants

There is a blanket smoking ban for restaurants and pubs in the UK. It is illegal to smoke tobacco cigarettes indoors around others. Once again, while vaping isn't necessarily illegal it is rare to find an eatery that allows vaping indoors. This makes sense, even if you are seated next to other vapers, they are unlikely to want to eat their steak dinner under big vape clouds infused with peppermint, or similar. The general rule of thumb in the UK is to assume that you cannot vape where food and drink are served.

Enjoying a Vape While in a Cafe

The situation in cafes is similar to the one in the restaurants. Most chain coffee shops such as Caffe Nero or Starbucks don't allow vaping inside. A great number of smaller independent cafe owners follow their example and don't allow their customers or staff to vape indoors. For those who enjoy reading the newspaper with a cup of something warm and their e cigarette, all is not lost. More and more vaping cafes pop up all the time, and not just in big cities.

Is It True That You Can Vape in Nightclubs

Some vapers report being allowed to vape in some of the nightclubs they've been to. Perhaps this is down to a more relaxed atmosphere or because many have smoke machines and similar going already.

If you plan on heading out to a nightclub ask before you enter if vaping is allowed. You run the risk of being asked to leave otherwise.

Vaping On Public Transport

In the UK it is not ok to vape on public transport. While vaping does not pose a risk as passive smoking does it is still banned. Choosing to ignore the ban can be enough to have you removed and/or fined.

If travelling in a car, while vaping is not banned, it is important to ensure the driver maintains good visibility at all time. Filling a vehicle with thick vapour could cause an accident. If vaping at the time of an accident, there is a good chance that charges could be serious if it is believed vaping contributed to a crash. Vaping while on the road is a no-go too.

Airports: Can You Vape

Whether UK airports allow vaping varies from location to location. Some airports have designated areas for smoking and vaping, and others specify where vaping is not permitted. Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport both have designated areas for smoking and vaping outside the terminals. Contact the airport in advance for up to date information. Under no circumstances is it ok to vape on an aeroplane.

You shouldn’t have a problem with transporting e-liquids and other vaping equipment. Check specific airport rules before arriving. Also be aware that while vaping is widely accepted here in the UK and much of the world, it is not allowed everywhere. Fines, confiscation and even legal troubles may result if you travel to a non-vaping company and choose to vape.

Vaping in Hotels

As privately owned properties each hotel has a vaping policy specific to each venue. Some may have dedicated areas for smoking and vaping in the hotel’s garden. The majority of hotels understand that many of there guests are vapers, which is why they ensure at least a single area is designated for them.

Double-check whether vaping is allowed in private rooms. Vaping might be possible on the balcony, or even inside the room, but it is important to be completely certain first. That is the best way to avoid fines and other issues with the hotel.

Where Can You Vape in the UK

It may seem like there are very few places that you can vape. While e cigarettes don't fall under the Go Smoke Free ban rules, few public places allow vaping indoors. It is always worth asking property owners what their policy is before you visit. Also bear in mind that vaping is understood much better than ever before and with this understanding will likely come more freedom about where you can vape.

Enjoy your e cigarette and favourite e liquid in your own home and many outdoor places. Just be aware of those around.


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