To vape or not to vape – devices under scrutiny
How do you feel if someone “vapes” next to you on a train, in a restaurant or a pub?
It is becoming a more and more common experience as droves of smokers turn to alternatives in a bid to stop smoking cigarettes.
Ashford now has four e-cigarette and vape outlets.
But generally there are few rules and regulations regarding the use of e-cigarettes and vapes in public places, whether enclosed or not.
Many non- smokers are unhappy at having to inhale the vapour produced by e-cigarettes, vaporisers or similar devices, which were originally designed to help tobacco smokers quit their life-threatening habit.
And even medical experts are struggling to confirm if they are harm-free.
They emit vapour in a similar way to the smoke produced by cigarettes, and from a distance you can’t always spot the difference. So who allows it and who doesn’t?
Looking at the Ashford Designer Outlet, it’s easy to think that the tented area is outdoors, inviting smokers or vapers to get their fix.
But as determined by Ashford Borough Council, the shopping centre actually qualifies as enclosed, meaning cigarette smokers must go elsewhere.
But not vapers, as owners McArthurGlen say they currently have no policy on the use of e-cigarettes or vaporisers there and as such they are permitted within the centre.
A McArthur Glen spokesman said: “Each store is, however, entitled to restrict their use if they choose.”
So what about public transport? A spokesman for Ashford’s United Taxis said: “As most of us are self-employed, everyone has their own rules – some of the taxi drivers are smoking these e-cigarettes themselves. But as a company, we don’t have a general rule.”
Train company Southeastern said: “It is allowed at the moment, but it’s something that is being reconsidered.”
Stagecoach says vaping falls under its smoking policy, and so is not acceptable in any way on its buses.
Likewise Cineworld and Frankie and Benny’s restaurant on the Eureka Leisure Park and Wetherspoons, which owns The County Hotel pub in Ashford’s Lower High Street, also said they do not allow any smoking, including e- cigarettes, on their premises.
Do you think vape or e-cigarette users should be banned from using them in enclosed public places? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford TN24 8JR or email kentishexpress@ thekmgroup.co.uk
Businesses have a range of policies regarding vaping