Vaping is a trend sweeping across the country. For those who do not know, vaping is an alternative to smoking. It uses electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to create a vapour which is then inhaled. The vapour contains nicotine but not some of the harmful ingredients found in tobacco smoke.
E-cigarettes are now used by 3.6 million Britons. That is exactly half the number who still smoke real cigarettes (7.2 million). This is a 400% rise from the 700,000 vapers back in 2012. As you can see, the use of e-cigarettes is rapidly on the rise.
With vaping now so common, for this week’s survey we decided to find out what children think of it. To learn the answer we asked 1,103 schoolchildren the following question: “How do you feel about vaping in public?” To try to cover a range of opinions we gave three possible answers: “I don't like it but it's better than smoking, It should be banned” and “It's fine.”
Children are not as tolerant as adults it seems. In our survey a huge proportion (46%) said that vaping in public should be banned. That is a pretty clear result in favour of outlawing the practice.
But a slight majority are more tolerant. Just under a quarter of our respondents (24%) say that vaping in public is fine and they have no problem with it. Add this to the 30% who do not like to see vaping in public but are willing to put up with it as an alternative to cigarettes and we have a total of 54% who believe vaping in public is acceptable.
So, despite the huge number of children who do want vaping in public banned, it seems opinion is divided. A very slim majority are OK with it.
As I write this, there are no laws banning the use of e-cigarettes in public. But, just as with smoking, or any drug really, there are laws surrounding the use of e-cigarettes. Firstly, to buy them or any of the associated paraphernalia, you have to be at least eighteen years old.
There are other rules aimed as preventing youngsters from taking up the habit. For example, advertisements for the product (though not banned like advertisements for cigarettes are) are forbidden to use actors or models who look to be younger than 25.
So that’s WHO can use vapes, but WHERE can they use them? In 2007 smoking in public was banned but that rule does not extend to e-cigarettes. In fact, in law there is no restriction at all on where you can vape. However, you will find that you are not free to use your e-cigarette wherever you like.
Public places, like pubs or restaurants, will have their own rules on vaping. Some will outlaw it on their premises completely, while others will set aside an area for customers who wish to use e-cigarettes. Workplaces are the same. Some will have no restriction on their employees vaping, while others will ban the practice entirely.
Public transport is similar. Each company will have its own rules surrounding vaping. However, most, if not all, will not allow the use of e-cigarettes on their vehicles. So, the only public space where you are free to use an e-cigarette without fear of any comeback is outside.
As with all things, just because you are permitted by law to do them that does not mean that you should. For example, vaping while sat next to someone who does not appreciate it, especially if they have children with them, is not very considerate. My advice would be to be thoughtful of others around you.
Compared to smoking, vaping is a much healthier alternative. A study by Environmental Science & Technology found that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes contains substances which can cause cancer and ones that are irritants. So they are not great for your lungs, but nowhere near as harmful as cigarette smoke.
Cigarettes are also harmful to our hearts and blood vessels. But the study found that vaping is not. Blood pressure begins to fall just a few weeks after switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes.
Smoking causes one-hundred-thousand deaths in the UK every year. Think about that for a moment. It is a huge number. So, anything that gets people off cigarettes has to be a good thing, right?
More than half of those who use e-cigarettes are ex-smokers. This as good as proves that they are an excellent aid to those who want to quit the habit. There are at present only two deaths in the UK that may be linked to vaping. Compare this to the millions who have died from smoking and it is obvious that they are a much safer alternative.
Medical advice at present is this: if you smoke cigarettes then switch to vaping to improve your health. If you do not smoke, then do not start vaping. It is much less harmful than tobacco, but it is not harmless.
Here are the results from the 1,103 children who answered our question "How do you feel about vaping in public?" The survey was conducted in the week ending 18th April 2021.
|How do you feel about vaping in public?||Percentage of Respondents|
|I don't like it but it's better than smoking||30%|
|It should be banned||46%|