Luminar Group chief executive Peter Marks claims the Government can no longer ignore the “dilemma” facing operators and is asking for guidance on where they can be smoked.
He argues that the Government has legislated when it comes to selling alcohol and it now needs to focus on this issue of e-cigarettes.
Many operators have chosen to stop customers vaping indoors, including Mitchells & Butlers, JD Wetherspoon and Fuller’s. This self-regulation has been in part to protect staff as it is difficult to distinguish between e-cigarettes and real cigarettes. In addition, there have been demands from some for e-cigarettes to be included in the smoking ban in public places.
“Now, it’s not in my nature to be calling for more Government legislation and interference – we already have it coming out of our ears. At present, the industry has self-regulated, with many high street multiples opting to ban them, including The Luminar Group,” Marks said.
“With e-cigarette shops popping up everywhere, aggressive advertising and high profile sponsorship it is clear the tobacco companies see this as a huge growth opportunity. So we can’t display cigarettes, we can’t have vending machines but what about e-cigarettes?”
Marks admits e-cigarette sales could be a potential opportunity for late night operator Luminar as there is a customer demand for the product.
In October 2014, new advertising rules for e-cigarettes were published by the Committees of Advertising Practice. The rules state that e-cigarettes must not appeal to under-18s, people using e-cigarettes in adverts must not seem to be under 25 and it must be clear it is not a tobacco product.
Last year, Enterprise Inns signed a deal with an electronic cigarette brand Nicolites allowing its tenants to offer the products to customers.