Back in the days before the smoking ban, people were, it seemed, allowed to light up anywhere – on buses, on trains, in the sky during flights, and, of course, in airports. In some airports, you can still find designated smoking areas, usually in a glass cage-like structure which is so misted up with smoke you can barely see the people inside it. Just walking into one makes you immediately feel as if you have smoked a whole pack of twenty – not ideal, or good for you. So what with vaping being cleaner and less harmful, surely it should be allowed at airports, too?
Vaping company GoSmokeFree.co.uk surveyed 800 respondents to ask what they thought and found that over 1 in 4 (29%) of us do believe it should be allowed. However, it is important to know that you are only meant to travel with e-cigarettes in your carry on – worldwide, it is banned from hold baggage due to the risk of the batteries sparking. At present, several airports do allow vaping, but only in designated areas, and these tend to be outside the terminals; these include Birmingham, Bristol and London Gatwick. At least that means you won’t be cooped up in one of those smokey boxes…
GoSmokeFree.co.uk also asked respondents if they thought the government should make smoking illegal, and over 1 in 3 (34%) said yes. Hopefully, they will follow the example of one progressive country, New Zealand, who are hoping to stop young people ever smoking in their lifetime. They would plan to start raising the legal age at which it is possible to buy tobacco products – currently 18 – year by year from 2027. This way existing smokers would still be able to indulge in their habit, but it would become off limits for anyone born after 2008.
GoSmokeFree.co.uk also asked whether, if someone lit up a cigarette in a public area, the respondents would confront them and ask them to stop. Nearly half (40%) said yes – effectively, they would be helping stop someone breaking the law. Of course, this can be fraught with issues, as the smoker may be resistant, and get angry, but hopefully the majority of law abiders present at the scene would shame them into doing so. In fact, the city of Bristol may have been an early adopter of this kind of policy; back in 2015, they put up signs around the public areas of Millennium Square and Anchor Square, thanking people for keeping them smoke-free, as a way of trying to encourage smokers not to light up, and making it theoretically possible and acceptable for passersby to discourage them either by tutting or actively asking politely for smokers to stop.
The question was also asked of current vapers if they had ever vaped while driving, and 11% admitted to having done so. Technically, this is not actually illegal, but it still carries a risk. (Interestingly, it is not technically illegal to smoke while driving either, unless in a vehicle with anyone under 18). Drivers who vape can be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention if they become distracted by e-cigarette smoke; it can produce a similar visual impairment to a glare from the sun. It’s advisable to drive with the windows open if you’re going to be vaping, so the clouds of vapour don’t get the chance to build up inside the car and block the driver’s vision of the road ahead. The best way of all to avoid any risk, however, is to wait until your journey is finished in order to have that first puff.