Vape Zones – Are They Planning To Ban Vaping In Town Centres?
Among all the good news coming from health organizations here in the UK in particular – there’s still a worrying trend emerging of shoving vapers into designated areas.
Or for the more ignorant ‘jobsworths’ banning vaping completely – even outdoors – my local railway station being one…
The NHS is particularly guilty of this within hospital grounds but town centre planners – councils and shopping malls are now flexing their ‘vape ban muscles’ forcing vapers to either vape alongside the smokers or in ‘vape zones’.
This is blatantly stupid – given it sends out a very bad message to smokers and the public who will obviously assume the vapour must be unhealthy to the passer by – when nothing could be further from the truth.
Look there’s more nasties in the air on your high street or near a hospital car-park than the vapour from an e-cigarette.
Look at what Professor Riccardo Polosa told the UK Science and Technology committee recently:
I would be more concerned to go out to breathe the air in Westminster than have a vaping person next to me.
Could it be made any clearer from a true expert in the field?
Vape Zones In NHS Outdoor Areas
I’ve watched the slow creep of ‘vape zones’ for a while now and decided to have a bit of a mini rant after I was about to pen a ‘good news story’ on the drop in the number of smokers in Ipswich and Colchester.
However get past the headline and the story centered around the fall in smokers in the hospital grounds thanks in the main due to the vape shelters and vaping zones.
These shelters were originally used by smokers so a quick re-brand using NHS money was called for and they first appeared on last year’s National No Smoking Day – which incidentally falls on March 8th this year.
They haven’t released any figures to back up the claim – they just say ‘a huge reduction’ in smokers in the hospital grounds.
I kind of understand why the NHS bans smoking in its grounds – but for me it’s outdoors so what’s the issue?
And as far as vaping goes Public Health England has already stressed there is NO evidence of ill effects to passers by from so called passive vaping – so why the need to herd vapers like sheep into purpose built pens?
It’s a mixed message and the NHS needs to get it’s act together if it really does want to promote e-cigarettes and vaping as a 95% [and rising] healthier alternative to smoking.
It’s not just me saying it either.
A recent post in the Public Health England blog says:
Allowing vaping in all or part of the hospital grounds can support compliance with the smokefree policy. And, the easier you make compliance, the less you depend on enforcement.
What’s important is that when trusts set their vaping policies, they strike a balance that works for everyone, whether that’s staff, patients or visitors.
We know that unlike cigarette smoke, there is no evidence that passive exposure to vapour is harmful to health which is why vaping may be permitted where smoking is not.
That’s a message that seems to be conveniently ignored by many NHS Trusts and indeed other public space managers…
Outdoor Vape Bans In Town Centres?
It’s not just hospital managers either that feels the need to flex their vape ban muscles.
Take the London Borough of Bexley Heath.
The powers that be in the council are literally virtue signalling their anti smoking stance with the plan to BAN SMOKING in their shopping precinct.
Nope it’s not covered either – it’s out in the fresh air – you know like most high streets up and down the country.
I can’t use the argument of traffic and diesel fumes being worse for your health with this one as the town centre is pedestrianized.
However given it’s outdoors then what’s the issue with smoking?
Surely the deadly tobacco smoke will dissipate quickly in the you know… fresh air?
But hey I’m no scientist lol – but the worry here is if this 6 month scheme proves ‘successful’ will vaping be next?
It’s all about the kids again as a spokesman for the scheme explains:
[the scheme is designed to]…protect young people from the influence of visible smoking and second-hand smoke.
Given most ignorant anti-vaping bodies – especially councils – seem to believe wrongly that vaping leads to kids smoking – then it’s pretty obvious where they’re going with this.
A no smoking no vaping zone outdoors – which is absolutely ridiculous to say the least.
As much as we may be anti smoking as vapers like it or not these types of anti smoking archaic laws will eventually effect us and anyway how can councils technically impose bans around fresh air?
I mean we’re not taxed on the air we breath as yet…but watch this space lol.
Anjan Ghosh – the area’s Director of Public Health said:
Research has shown that even pre-school children who live with a smoker perceive that smoking is the norm. By urging people not to smoke in a busy public area that is frequented by school children, Bexley will support the government’s Tobacco Control Plan for a future smoke-free generation.
Latest figures show that smoking among ‘young folk’ has dropped dramatically.
Whilst smoke bans has maybe helped in the decline – it’s my old chestnut education not legislation that for me has been the key to the fall.
We’ve told a couple of generations now the true facts about the dangers of smoking and the kids have been alright and stopped taking up the deadly habit in their droves!
And anyway who the hell are a council to tell anyone what they can and can’t do in a public place that’s outdoors?
And trust me – if this scheme is successful – however that is measured – these virtual signalling do gooders will target vaping next.
And if that happens just watch as more and more Guardian reading do-gooder Councillors will follow suit and vaping will also be banned or forced into vape zones and shelters up and down the country *shudders*
BTW Bexley council is running a consultation on this plan and you have until March 16th to respond – so do let them know your thoughts on the town centre smoking ban.
And remember they’ll be coming after the vapers next…
Vaping Banned In Swansea Shopping Centre
Which brings me nicely to quick one on a Swansea’s latest e-cigarette ban.
Don’t get me started on the Welsh Government’s anti-vape stance and policies that’s a whole new article that sends my blood pressure rocketing lol.
OK once again I ‘get’ why smoking is banned indoors – I don’t like it but I get it.
However the managers of Swansea’s shopping centre [indoors] has now banned vaping – as of Monday of this week.
Centre manager Lisa Hartley said:
Smoking has not been permitted in the centre for a number of years now, and with the growth in popularity of vaping and e-cigs, we thought it was important that we introduce the policy for the comfort of our shoppers.
There are areas outside the centre where people are able to smoke and vape, and we’re sure that our customers will appreciate this decision has been taken in the interest of the majority of shoppers who prefer a smoke or vape-free environment.
The policy includes the intriguing line:
Vaping is no longer allowed in the centre for the comfort of other shoppers.
What about the comfort of vaping shoppers?
Why are you herding them into the same zones as the smokers?
PHE A Bit Wishy Washy On Vaping Policy In Towns and NHS Properties?
I have quite a nice indoor shopping centre in my town and I have often been glared at by the security guard as I take a toot on my MTL set-up – using the hold in my lungs technique there’s barely a whisper of vapor – drives him nuts haha.
The point is there’s no policy to stop me vaping in there and armed with the knowledge that vaping IS NOT covered by the current No Smoking laws – I almost want him to wander over and challenge me.
Not for confrontation but to see how he can justify telling me it’s ‘illegal’ when it plainly isn’t.
The PHE says one vaping policy won’t fit all – but to me that’s a cop out.
Back in 2016 we published advice to support organisations in developing policies on vaping that are based on the evidence and support smokers to quit while managing any identified risks.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach – what works for one organisation may not be appropriate or suitable for another.
PHE therefore does not prescribe any one policy. It is ultimately up to each organisation, including NHS trusts, to decide what works best for their staff and all users of their sites.
However some core principles apply, and we have set out the following framework to guide policy discussions:
- Make a clear distinction between vaping and smoking
- Ensure policies are based on evidence of harm to bystanders
- Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people
- Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree
- Support compliance with smokefree law and policies
The NHS and PHE can’t swing both ways.
Vaping is either the considerably healthier alternative to both smokers and passers by and should be allowed everywhere [within reason lol].
…or it’s not.
Herding vapers like cattle into vape zones and smoking areas gives out a terrible message and is sadly undoing all the good work that advocacy groups and real vaping researchers are doing.
Time for PHE to make a stand and give a clear as crystal message that vaping is healthier to vapers – smokers and passers by.