Although you can legally vape anywhere in public, as electronic cigarettes aren’t covered in the UK smoking ban, the ultimate decision falls upon the property or business owner.
In most cases, vaping bans do not arise from health issues, but from business owners’ fears that people will be confused by ecigs and light up tobacco cigarettes inside, and as nonsensical as this argument may be, this tends to be the default policy of many workplaces and private businesses.
To help you figure out where you can and cannot vape indoors, we’ve compiled this exhaustive list of popular places in the UK and their respective policies on vaping.
Ecigarette Use On Trains
Almost every rail operator in the UK has banned vaping on platforms and in trains across the UK. Companies with bans in place include:
- Transport for London
- Great Northern
- Virgin Trains
- Cross Country
First Great Western do not seem to have any concrete policy on ecigarette use, but anecdotally, many passengers have been asked to stop vaping on FGW trains.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to avoid using ecigarettes on trains.
Ecigarette Use on Planes
Vaping is expressly banned on every flight operator out of the UK, and in most airports as well. A notable exception is London Heathrow, which allows ecigarette use anywhere except at your gate.
When travelling on aeroplanes however, where you can vape is the least of your worries. Just getting your device onto a plane can be a nightmare, and many airplane companies have unclear and contradictory rules on whether you can put your ecigarette in hand luggage, or whether it needs to be put in cabin luggage.
When travelling abroad, it is also well worth checking the legality of ecigarettes in your destination too, as many countries have banned ecigarettes.
Ecigarette Use on Buses
All Transport for London buses have banned ecigs, and on National Express services, ecigarette use will get you kicked off immediately.
This is the case with most regional bus operators, too, although many don’t have any specific rules about ecigarette use, which usually leaves it to the discretion of the driver.
Ecigarette Use In Supermarkets
Despite most UK supermarkets selling ecigarettes, many confusingly also prohibit the use of them in-store.
Supermarkets that have an active ban include:
According to this brilliant post on UKvapers, ASDA allow the use of ecigs in their stores, although it is worth noting that this thread is over two years old, and the rules may have changed.
Ecigarette Use in Coffee Shops
Nicotine and coffee are a match made in heaven, which is why it is so disheartening to see ecigs banned in many high street coffee chains, including Starbucks, Nero, and Pret.
As always, whether you can vape in smaller independent coffee shops is entirely up to the staff’s discretion, so it is always worth asking before you toke.
Ecigarette Use in Restaurants
Unsurprisingly, most restaurants ban the use of ecigs indoors. This is one instance of a ban making sense, as few people would enjoy trying to eat a meal whilst having plumes of vape blown across their table.
Ecigarette Use in Pubs
There is an active ban on vaping and ecigs in all chains run by:
- JD Wetherspoon
- All Bar One
- Mitchells & Butler
- Greene King
- Brewer’s Fayre
Most smaller pubs allow ecig use indoors, but it is worth asking the bar staff before you vape, to avoid any confrontation.
Ecigarette Use in Hotels
Most hotels ban the use of ecigarettes in rooms, but this ban is extremely hard to enforce. Vapour disperses extremely quickly and leaves no lingering smell, so getting caught out would be difficult.
Similarly, vaping does not tend to set off fire alarms, so unless you’re blasting the room with enormous clouds for sustained periods of time, the chances of setting of an alarm are quite low.