Is it okay to “vape” e-cigs in public places where smoking is banned?
Answer by James Dunworth:
There's two aspects to this question – is it legal to to vape in public places and is it considered acceptable to vape in public places.
1. Legality depends on the country and locality where you are. In Spain, for example, it is currently illegal to use e-cigarettes in public places indoors. In the UK, it remains legal, although Wales is seeking to institute a ban in public places.
However, even in countries where it is legal, many companies have instituted bans. Vaping is banned on all airlines, as well as in many restaurants, bars and pubs. This is better than a blanket ban on vaping in public, as people on the ground are more likely to be able to judge whether vaping is appropriate. For example, in a restaurant which is frequented by family and children it might be appropriate to limit vaping, while in a bar frequented by vapers it would make no sense.
2. When I surveyed over 1000 vapers on their attitudes to vaping in public (see), 58% believed you should only vape in public when permission is given, while 33% argued you should only vape outside.
I am inclined to go with the majority on this. If permission is given why not vape in public – after all, after several studies on the effect of passive vapour there is no evidence that it is harmful. At the same time, being respectful and mindful of others will avoid harming the reputation of vapers!