Can you vape in pubs?

By Neil Goddard

Vaping in Pubs

There was a time when the sight of people smoking cigarettes in the pub was the norm. But the smoking ban of 2007 outlawed smoking indoors in all public places – including pubs. The ban was introduced to prevent non-smokers from suffering the negative effects of second-hand smoke.

The 2007 smoking ban doesn’t include e-cigarettes, which don’t contain tobacco and don’t have the same harmful effects as conventional cigarettes.1 But the smoking ban is now widely accepted, and the sight of what may at first glance appear to be cigarette smoke in a pub may be met with disapproval.

Is vaping allowed in pubs?

Vaping in pubs is not illegal; there are no specific laws or restrictions on vaping indoors. However, the smoking ban of 2007 has made it more difficult for pubs to ensure that their customers aren’t breaking the law by smoking inside. A harmless plume of vapour can be difficult to distinguish from the more harmful (and illegal) cigarette smoke. It can also be met with disapproval from other customers, who may prefer to spend their time in a smoke and vape-free environment.

Food service presents another problem with vaping in pubs. Many pubs serve food as well as drinks, and plumes of strong-smelling vapour from flavoured e-cigarettes could be off-putting to those trying to enjoy a meal. For these reasons, many pubs have chosen to ban vaping indoors.

Heated tobacco in pubs

Heated tobacco products like IQOS are relatively new in the UK. Because the tobacco is heated but not burned as it is in conventional tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars, heated tobacco does not fall under the smoking ban. Instead, users should follow the same guidance as vaping in public places and always ask beforehand.

Can you vape in Wetherspoons?

Some pub chains such as Wetherspoons allowed vaping indoors when vaping was still relatively new to the UK. But vaping inside at Wetherspoons was banned due to staff having to spend an increasing amount of time checking that customers were vaping and not smoking conventional cigarettes.2 The Wetherspoons website now states:

“We do not permit the use of electronic cigarettes/vaporisers outside of the designated smoking areas on our premises. This includes hotel rooms and external areas.”


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