One of the main advantages of using e-cigs is the ability to use them almost anywhere. This is especially important for users who are trying to cut down or quit smoking, as tobacco smoke is now illegal in all enclosed public areas.
The ban on smoking cigarettes in enclosed public areas and workplaces has been enforced in the UK since July 2007. This blanket ban across the four nations is split into four separate pieces of legislation, specific to each U.K. country. These are:
- The Health Act 2006 (England).
- The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007.
- The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005.
- The Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
UK Smoking Ban and Electronic Cigarettes
The Health Act defines smoking as:
- smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, and,
- being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.
This means the use of electronic cigarettes is allowed in public places because:
- They contain no tobacco.
- They are not "lit" and do not burn. Instead, they vaporise through heating (in the same way a kettle produces steam, but at a lower, safer temperature).
- They emit vapour rather than "smoke" due to the lack of combustion.
Safety of Electronic Cigarette Vapour
The vapour released when exhaling an e-cigarette contains water, edible flavourings & emulsifiers (including propylene glycol), edible perfumes, and a small dosage of nicotine. This vapour quickly dissipates in the air, leaving no lingering smoke or haze.
There has not yet been a significant amount of research completed in this area specifically relating to electronic cigarettes. However, there are studies that have examined the effects of the ingredients contained within the vapour:
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics exposed rats and monkeys to propylene glycol (PG), the main ingredient of e-liquid, for a period of 12 - 18 months.
- The animals were given doses between 50-700 times the levels that could be incidentally absorbed by the animal through inhalation of the substance.
- This was then compared to a control group of animals in normal room temperature without exposure to PG.
- No localised or generalised irritation or damage was found in either set of animals’ lungs, kidneys, spleen or bone marrow.
- Researchers concluded that "air containing these vapours in amounts up to the saturation point is completely harmless".
Informal Bans on E-Cigarette Use
Officially, there is no legislative reason for an e-cig to be banned anywhere in the UK. Still, some companies such as restaurants or airlines may choose to have a policy that bans the use of electronic cigarettes on their premises. E-cig companies can have no control over policies such as these, which can be compared to bars that ask customers to wear shoes instead of trainers or not to wear sports tops. Policies like these are not usually made because a business or company believes electronic cigarettes are harmful; rather it is usually related to the comfort of other customers/employees. Companies may be concerned with how their customers/employees feel about the use of electronic cigarettes, or that at a glance the e-cigarette will be misconstrued as a real cigarette and lead others to believe smoking is being permitted. Such policies are rare, however, we always recommend checking with staff before using an e-cig in an enclosed public space. As long as staff are aware, they're usually comfortable with you using e-cigarettes.
Overcoming the Informal Bans on E-Cigs
As a direct response to the apprehension of certain people or establishments to allow electronic cigarettes, SKYCIG’s iconic blue-tipped battery comes as standard in both our single use lines and re-chargeable. This means that when a user begins to use a SKYCIG in public, any confusion or concern can be quickly dispelled, thus allowing the user to feel safe and relaxed using our e-cigarettes around others. Additionally, as the popularity of e-cigs rises, they are becoming more recognisable and therefore the general public are becoming more comfortable with their use indoors. SKYCIG strives to educate the public about e-cigs whenever possible. We always want to be transparent about our technology, how it works and what the effects are. The more information we give people, the better equipped they are to make their own mind up about e-cigs.
The Fine Line of Realism In E-Cigarette Design
Some users remain shy about using e-cigs indoors because they are concerned staff or others may publicly reprimand them if their e-cig is mistaken for a tobacco cig. As a result, we're finding that users are more likely to feel comfortable using e-cig devices in public if they look LESS like traditional cigarettes. This does, however, present a clear disadvantage for many e-cig users. One of the large advantages of an e-cig is that it looks like a tobacco cigarette, thereby replicating the psychological connection to cigarettes. An e-cig that appears to be a cigarette brings the user a feeling of familiarity and helps to better simulate the act of smoking, thus making it more effective.
SKYCIG has tried to bridge the gap between smoking psychology and comfort in public with our signature blue-tipped battery, which helps avoid confusion or concern from others.
Raising Awareness About Electronic Cigarettes
SKYCIG regularly partners with scientific educational bodies and institutes, such as the University of East London and the University of Prague, in order to further scientific research on e-cigs and ensure there is as much in depth information available as possible. Currently, we believe the e-cig industry is still in the "awareness" stage. Thus, raising awareness and understanding in this area is key. People are learning about this new technology and researching the ins and outs of how it works and how it's made. When enough people feel comfortable that they understand e-cigs, and most importantly that they present a very low risk, acceptance will come.
Future of Electronic Cigarettes in Public Spaces
In the U.K., consultations and reviews of guidelines affecting e-cigs are currently being held by:
- The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency)
- The Department of Health
- NICE (National institute for Health and Clinical Excellence)
- The European Union
- BMA (British Medical Association)
These consultations/reviews are mainly based on how e-cigs are made, sold and classified, rather than on where they are used. It is expected that the use of e-cigs in public will remain un-restricted by new legislation and guidelines.
Smoke SKYCIG Anywhere
Take a look at our SKYCIG Smoke Anywhere Gallery, demonstrating everyday people using SKYCIG electronic cigarettes in areas where smoking is expressly forbidden – often demonstrated by stern signs citing the law and threatening fines.
SKYCIG: The Freedom to Smoke Anywhere
Get your own e-cigarette kit to experience it for yourself.