Vaping in the modern world still occupies a grey area between public acceptance and equally general wariness. At the dawn of its existence, vaping faced an avalanche of criticism from legal authorities and researchers alike. The data that was supposed to bring clarity into the burning question about the safety of electronic cigarettes was frequently labeled ‘ambiguous’ and promptly disregarded. Nevertheless, the vaping trend kept growing and demanding new regulations.

In 2019, policies that regulate vaping fluctuate significantly by country. The generally favoured tendency is to compare vaping to smoking and apply the same laws to both acts. Some states go as far as to impose significantly stricter bans on vaping than on smoking for a variety of reasons. The United Kingdom, however, refuses to issue a blanket ban on vaping. Instead, the Government endorses the use of electronic cigarettes in place of conventional tobacco products.

The General Vaping Restrictions And Policies

Over the years, we can notice the trend of increasing  the number of vape pens in the UK (more info here). In 2016, finally deciding to shed some light on the controversial issue, The Royal College of Physicians conducted thorough research and discovered that the effects of electronic cigarettes on the body were nearly 20 times less severe than the harm caused by smoking. The news triggered a number of changes to the UK vaping policies and the public’s attitude towards the matter.

Vaping is, beyond doubt, beneficial to many smokers who wish to quit. It is also safe for bystanders due to the mechanism of vapor production. However, it’s unreasonable to issue a blanket permission on the use of vape pens in the UK. Some restrictions have to be present to reduce the harm to people and minors with respect to the potential allergies in the contents of e-vapor.

Officially, vaping is prohibited for those under 18 years of age. Advertising rules also prohibit models who are or appear to be under the age of 25 from participating in e-cig promotion. Basically, any attempt to advertise the best vape pen in the UK to children can result in legal repercussions.

There are also certain limitations to the maximum allowed capacity of e-liquid containers. They must not exceed 10 ml. Clearomizers and cartridges must not be larger than 2 ml in capacity. Moreover, the maximum allowed nicotine strength is 20 per cent. To ensure the quality and safety of the product, the UK Government also obligates the manufacturers to submit electronic cigarettes and vaporizers for approval before selling them.

Is Vaping Allowed Indoors?

Vaping In Hospitals

A vast majority of hospitals in the UK enforce a ban on vaping and treat vaporizers as conventional cigarettes. Some establishments also prohibit vaping across hospital grounds. This policy is the most widespread in Scotland. However, the ban is instilled by each separate hospital and does not automatically cover other clinics.

Vaping In Restaurants

Unlike smoking, vaping is not banned in all fast food restaurants, pubs, and cafes. A general rule would be to check with the administrator of the establishment before taking out a vape pen in the UK. Some chain restaurants such as KFC and Starbucks include vaping in their policy against smoking; others distinguish between the two. In any case, a vaper will not face any legal repercussions even if they break a vaping rule of a single establishment.

Vaping At Stadiums And Music Venues

Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford and several other large sports stadiums have strict vaping bans in place. Smaller clubs may have different rules. The same is true for various music venues and concert halls. While the majority will not allow vaping inside their buildings, some may have flexible regulations. It would be unreasonable to assume that the smoking ban extends to vaping in all cases. To know for sure, a person should research the vaping policy of the place they’re going to attend or ask a staff member on arrival.

A prominent exception to that approach is the Vaper Expo UK where UK best vape brands are presented. The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham opens its doors to thousands of vapers and allows the use of e-cigarettes indoors for the two days of the convention.

Vaping At Work

Vaping in the workplace is often a tricky issue. Many companies have regulations that dictate whether their employees can vape and where the vaping area is, and some do not. As a rule of thumb, vaping should be automatically allowed in areas where smoking is permitted. However, companies are strongly advised against putting vapers in the same space with smokers. Public Health England recommends companies to organize a separate space for vapers and encourage the use of e-cigarettes in place of combustible tobacco products.

Is Vaping Allowed Outdoors And In Public Transport?

Outdoor locations are subject to the same rules as indoor spaces. The property owner is free to determine whether it is allowed to vape on the premises.

Vaping In Public Transport

In the UK, vaping is banned on trains and the vast majority of train station platforms. Many companies also prohibit vaping on board buses. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in fines and in a request to exit the vehicle without a refund. The London Underground also prohibits vaping.

Vaping on planes is also banned. Also, electronic cigarettes must be transported following special rules when traveling by plane for safety reasons.

A Brief Overview Of The UK Vaping Policy

In the UK, vaping is promoted as a safer alternative to smoking. Although it is not an approved smoking cessation aid yet, Public Health England made a recommendation to grant e-cigarettes that status. Vaporizers are also officially recognized as consumer products. It results in extremely low taxes on vaping compared to the enormous taxes on combustible cigarettes and other tobacco products.

A vape pen in the UK is viewed as a tool that can improve the lives of many people. Therefore, there is no blanket ban on vaping in the majority of public places and indoor locations. Vaping regulations of a particular establishment are created by the property owner and hence tend to vary from place to place. The use of e-cigarettes on buses, trains and planes, however, is generally forbidden. When it comes to vaping in the UK, it is always a good idea to check with the authorities of a specific venue before using a vaporizer.

About the author: Christina Matthews is a journalist who studies the latest news in the health industry. Currently she is interested in the effects of smoking and vaping on health and the reasons for the latter’s popularity.