Can You Vape Indoors?
For users who like to take their vapes with them when out and about, there may be some confusion surrounding the legality of where to vape indoors.
In this article, we outline the policies and regulations surrounding using vapes in both indoor public spaces and public transportation in the UK.
Is It Illegal to Vape Indoors?
Are you allowed to vape indoors? The ability to vape indoors depends entirely on whether or not it’s illegal. For example, rules around venues, restaurants and event spaces are very different when it comes to home use. If you want to vape indoors in the comfort of your own home and it’s safe to do so, then you of course can. However, this is provided there are no vaping regulations in any rental agreement
If you decide to vape indoors, it’s recommended you take note of the smoke detectors and alarms as the vapour can trigger them.
Indoor Vaping Regulations
When it comes to vaping and smoking cigarettes, there are some key differences about whether you can smoke indoors or not in the UK.
The ban on smoking traditional cigarettes was introduced in 2007 – a result of the Health Act 2006. The goal of this act was to protect people from secondhand smoke in public indoor spaces.
Back in 2014, Public Health England (PHE) launched an engagement exercise to encourage debate and gather evidence-based consensus around vaping indoors in enclosed public places and workplaces.1 This initiative aimed to involve stakeholders in the discussion and build a well-informed perspective on the matter.
Based on available evidence, there is less risk to bystanders from vapour exposure compared to cigarettes.1 So, the general conclusion is that prohibiting the use of nicotine vapes in enclosed public spaces and workplaces wouldn’t be justified.1 Nicotine vapes can help reduce the effects of secondhand smoke exposure.1 One of the top priorities of these policies is to prevent young people from starting this habit while encouraging adult smokers to quit.
In order for policies to work, it’s key that they differentiate between the two – making it easier for people to choose vaping over smoking. Vapers shouldn’t be required to share a space with smokers, as this can undermine their efforts to quit cigarettes altogether. Clear communication of policies and emphasising the distinction between smoking and vaping can help with smoke-free laws and policies.
According to the UK Government’s report on the “Use of e-cigarettes in public areas and workplaces”, it’s recommended that policies are developed and managed based on the specific circumstances of a public space or workplace - all while being evidence-based and aiming to maximise the benefits and managing any identified risks.1 The evidence of harm from secondhand smoke to e-cigarette vapour is not sufficient to justify the prohibition of vapes. However, policies should keep in mind the interests of those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
The goal of governmental policies is to support smokers to quit and stay smoke-free by providing adult users with the necessary tools. Policies can be subject to change depending on evidence conducted through future government studies.
Vaping and Public Transport: Can You Vape on The Tube?
Vaping is banned on public transport in the UK. TfL doesn’t issue on-the-spot fines for passengers found vaping on the tube or rail services. If a TfL staff member catches you, most times they’ll ask you to stop or to leave the service.
However, if a passenger refuses to cooperate, is abusive or threatens people, the police will be called in. In these cases, passengers can be prosecuted for these offences and, if convicted, may be fined by the courts. There are no recorded incidents for prosecutions on the London Underground or TfL Rail in the last year – although there is one pending case in relation to buses. For public transportation, it’s strongly recommended you don’t vape or smoke on any bus, train or plane. Wait until you have found an area suitable for using your vape safely.
At the end of the day, if you’re unsure about whether you can vape in a public setting, the best thing you can do is ask. Every venue, restaurant and public space has their own specific rules, so make sure to respect their regulations.