Operators should decide on use of ‘smoking’ devices in pubs
By Gillian McKenzie
OPERATORS and trade groups have hit out at calls for the use of electronic cigarettes to be banned in enclosed public places, saying it should be up to operators to decide the policy for their venue.
The Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland (REHIS) has called on the Scottish Government to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places, saying there are “still serious questions to be answered on the long-term health implications of these devices”.
E-cigarettes work by delivering a release of nicotine to the user; most produce a smoke-like vapour and glow when the inhaler is activated. Their use has become more common since the ban on smoking in public places came into force in Scotland in March 2006.
Some of the major pub groups, including JD Wetherspoon and Greene King, have already banned the use of e-cigs in their outlets.
Donald MacLeod, whose Hold Fast Entertainment group operates Glasgow’s Garage, Cathouse and Tunnel nightclubs, said an outright ban on e-cigarettes in enclosed public places would impact on trade.
“It’s a disgrace; banning them would drive more people away from town and our pubs and clubs,” he told SLTN.
“I can’t believe they want to take away something that’s actually helping people stop smoking. It’s like saying ‘don’t use e-cigarettes just use tobacco because you’ll all be treated the same’.”
SLTA chief Paul Waterson said it should be up to operators to decide whether or not to ban e-cigarettes in their premises.
“There is no evidence I’m aware of to suggest they are harmful,” he said.
“It most certainly should be left up to the individual operator to decide.”
Emma Logan, co-founder of e-cigarette firm JAC Vapour, said: “Yet again a public health body’s ill-informed opinion has been quoted as fact. Contrary to reports that e-cigarettes could normalise smoking and encourage people to take it up, the most recent ASH report points to the opposite.”
As well as calling on the Scottish Government to ban the use of e-cigs in enclosed public places, the REHIS wants the sale of them to under 18s prohibited and a ban on e-cigarette advertising at Commonwealth Games venues.
“Recent research has shown that the use of e-cigarettes has rocketed over the past few years, however there are still serious questions to be answered on the long-term health implications of these devices,” said REHIS president Colin Wallace.
“Organisations like Scotrail, Starbucks and Wetherspoon pubs have already banned their use and we would like to see that being adopted in every public place.”