Should E-Cigarettes Be Banned In Public Places? 23rd July 2015 – Posted in: News – Tags: , , ,

Since the introduction of electronic cigarettes onto the Western market in late 2007 there have been vast strides made forward in the field of research into their effects on the human body. E-cigarettes have exploded in popularity after claims that they reduced the risks smoking poses to smokers and those around them, as well as its virtues for helping users quit smoking altogether. But in more recent years there have been concerns that e-cigarettes might not be as safe as they seem, and there has been an outcry to have them banned in public places, just like tobacco cigarettes.

Why Should They Be Banned?

While the vapours from electronic cigarettes don’t contain the high concentration of toxic chemicals that tobacco cigarettes do they are still emitting vapours into the air we all breathe. If e-cigarettes are widely accepted into public spaces they could increase the background levels of nicotine and some mild toxicants in the air we breathe. Instead of allowing them for general sale, several medical bodies are lobbying for e-cigarettes to be sold as an aid to quit smoking, and restricting further sales.

There is also a substantial risk posed to adolescents and pregnant women who use the devices as a healthier way of smoking. There are now options available in some locations for e-cigarettes to be purchased from vending machines, and when displayed in a tempting range of fruit, sweet and alcohol flavours this may spark a mass upswing in nicotine addictions in children. There are some worries that vaping in public places will normalise the appearance of smoking to children, and encourage them to take up the habit themselves.

Why Shouldn’t They Be Banned?

One of the biggest downsides to banning everything is that it becomes incredibly difficult to regulate, and an underground culture of using the banned substance starts to form. The best example of this is the prohibition of alcohol, where banning the substance caused a huge underground network of drinking and dangerous behaviours to form. Ultimately allowing it to be readily available and sold (under a few regulations) reduced the problems caused by banning it.

E-cigarettes are also commonly used as an aid to quit smoking, and have helped thousands of people beat their addiction to nicotine in stages – much more effectively than gum or a patch.  E-cigarettes are available in reduced nicotine varieties, or even some with no nicotine at all, allowing for an easy weaning process that is more likely to result in a successful attempt to quit. Instead of attempting to ban a substance that has a potential risk, the focus should instead be on educating consumers about the choices available to them.

Ultimately, it always depends on where you are as to whether you should be allowed to smoke e-cigarettes in public places. Often in small workplaces occupied by chain smokers with a serious nicotine addiction, allowing employees to vape in the office actually increases productivity, as they are not popping out every hour or so to smoke.  In more public places like pubs and music venues, the decision ultimately rests with the owner, and often personal feelings affect this decision. The government are still debating the merits of banning vaping in public places, but because the risks are incredibly low we are still some way from a decision.