Plenty of controversy has been stirred up over vaping in recent months. It has been banned in many public places and workplaces, and now it has emerged councils could unwittingly be breaking the law.
A recent report has revealed that while councils have designated smoking areas for smokers to use, 90% of them expect vapers to use these same areas. This holds true even though vapers do not smoke, and are therefore being exposed to harmful cigarette smoke by being asked to use the same areas.
The report also revealed these councils have not differentiated between the two groups of people – and this could open the way for legal challenges concerning the situation. Vapers are not smokers. If they are asked to vape in the same area smokers are using, the councils concerned are not keeping the two separate. This contravenes the law regarding smoking in designated areas other people do not have to enter.
Enfield Council in North London stood out as the only council that encourages its workers to vape in the premises. It looks unlikely many other councils will follow suit. Perhaps it will take a court case or two to change things, we suspect.
While the research only explored councils, it makes us wonder how many other workplaces are failing to differentiate between smoking and vaping. Employers may want to sit up and take notice of the situation. It may take just one court case being brought against an employer for the floodgates to open.
Since many smokers have switched to vaping to help them quit the habit, it seems crazy to ask vapers to vape in the same area as smokers. We’ll be watching to see how this situation develops – and who blinks first.