There was once a time when smoking cigarettes was allowed on trains and buses. In the 1970s and 80s, the ill-effects of passive smoking weren’t yet known, and smoking in public was as widely accepted as drinking a coffee. As the harmful effects of cigarette smoke became more widely understood, many train and bus companies introduced non-smoking carriages or areas, but this did little to discourage smoking on public transport.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, as anti-smoking campaigning became more widespread, many bus and train companies banned smoking on board. But an outright ban wasn’t put in place until July 2007, when the ban on smoking in indoor public places was introduced.1
The 2007 indoor smoking ban outlawed smoking tobacco products in all indoor public places, including at work, in pubs and on planes, but this law doesn’t include e-cigarettes. However, that doesn’t mean that you can vape wherever you like. Read our guide to vaping laws in the UK to learn more!
Read on below to learn about vaping on trains and buses.
Can you vape on a train?
When vaping was first introduced to the UK ten years ago, vaping on trains was widely accepted. But as vaping gained popularity as an alternative to smoking, train companies began to impose their own bans for the comfort of other passengers, and to avoid confusion around whether passengers were smoking conventional cigarettes or e-cigarettes.
In the summer of 2015, almost all train companies imposed a vaping ban on board trains and at stations, including Southern trains, Thameslink, Great Northern and Transport for London. If you want to find out for certain whether the train company you are travelling with allows vaping, visit their website.
Heated tobacco on public transport
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 indoor smoking ban. Instead, users should follow the same guidance as vaping in public and always ask beforehand.<
Can you vape on a bus?
Similarly to vaping on trains, vaping on buses is not illegal, but it has been banned by most bus companies for the comfort of other passengers. Stagecoach, Arriva and National Express coaches all prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on board. We recommend checking the bus company website or asking the driver if you are unsure about vaping on the bus.
Possible future changes to regulations around vaping on trains and buses
Although vaping on board trains and buses is currently banned, there have been calls from some MPs to relax the regulations around vaping. A 2018 report urged the government to consider relaxing regulations on the advertisement, sale, taxation and use of the devices to encourage more smokers to switch.2