Gov't rules out English e-cigarette ban

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

E-cigarette smoking will be illegal in Welsh pubs from 2017
E-cigarette smoking will be illegal in Welsh pubs from 2017

Related tags: Wales

E-cigarettes will not be banned in England after industry leaders slammed the decision to outlaw vaping in Welsh pubs.

The Department of Health confirmed to the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ (PMA​) that England would not follow the Welsh government’s example and ban vaping in enclosed public spaces from 2017.

However, agency Public Health England is compiling a report on latest evidence on the effects of e-cigarette smoking, the findings of which will be published soon.

Opinion among experts is divided; the British Medical Association; Public Health Wales; and the Centre for Tobacco Control Research are among those in favour of a ban, whereas Cancer Research UK; British Heart Foundation Wales; and Action Against Smoking and Health are opposed.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said a system where individual outlets decided on whether to permit the use of e-cigarettes would be more appropriate.

"There is a clear case for a consistent approach on this issue across the UK, and while we continue to monitor the issue, we don’t believe that we have reached the point where a ban is the right way forward," she said.

Operators' policies 

Many pub operators have already taken matters into their own hands. In 2013, JD Wetherspoon banned e-cigarettes in all its pubs because staff were finding it difficult to distinguish vapers from tobacco cigarette smokers, resulting in them ‘policing the pub’.

Fuller’s followed soon after, and banned vaping due to the ‘anxiety’ caused to customers.

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR)chief executive Kate Nicholls said it was "difficult to see the logic" of a ban due to a lack of evidence of any harm to health related to vaping.

"Vaping in venues should boil down to a matter of practice for the operator," she said.

Many of the ALMR’s members have their own rules in place prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes indoors, she added.

"A blanket ban on e-cigarettes in public places is unnecessary and will only increase the legislative burden already being placed on pubs and bars," Nicholls said.

Many licensees contacted by the PMA​ last week said they would like the choice to decide whether to introduce a ban or not.

Related topics: Legislation

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