2015 saw some large companies leading the way on a vaping ban, including Mitchells and Butler, All Bar One and JD Wetherspoons . The restrictions were not implemented on health grounds but for the comfort of other customers. With the buck ultimately stopping with landlords, are there financial implications on enforcing a ban on your premises?
E-cigarettes exploded in popularity following the 2007 smoking ban and there are now more than 2.6 million users in the UK. The benefits of vaping have been loudly celebrated across the board, with the government estimating vaping to be 95% less harmful than tobacco smoke. E-cigarette use is reportedly responsible for up to 40% of smokers quitting. Many Experts fear alienating those choosing to vape could encourage people to return to tobacco.
Bringing smokers in from the cold has also proved a profitable and growing trend for publicans. Permitting the use of e-cigarettes indoors keeps vapers in your pub for longer, meaning they spend more money in your establishment. When the rain is lashing down and the outside smoking area looks distinctly less appealing, it's your pub this new breed of smokers will be coming back to.
E-Lites, an e-cigarette manufacturer has created ‘Vaping Allowed’ stickers, encouraging pubs to publicise the fact they allow vaping. Additionally online vaping communities have mapped licensed premises across Britain and Ireland that allow e-cigarettes indoors. You can view them and add your pub here.
The Welsh government recently looked to ban e-cigarettes indoors but the bill was amended to continue to allow use in wet led pubs. Opposition to e-cigarettes is low among the public, possibly due to the positive effects it's had on the reduction of tobacco smoke in public places. Wales Online conducted a poll following the ban to gauge public opinion, 78% of respondents were against the proposed restrictions. This is a view which seems to resonate across the rest of Britain with 62% against a ban of e-cigarettes in communal places, such as pubs, bars and clubs.
Of course you can never please everyone, with family friendly pubs receiving the most pressure to follow the big pub-co's lead, but there is always compromise. One option is to designate separate areas for e-cigarette smokers within the premises.
With public opinion overwhelmingly in favour of vaping despite some high profile bans, it's unlikely the topic will be raised in parliament again anytime soon. This means its down to landlords to decide where they stand on the issue, meaning personal preference is likely to decide the fate of vapers in your pub.