The Freedom to Vape campaign was launched in August 2016. The first piece of research conduced was on the vaping policies of all UK councils.
In the first report of its kind, The Freedom Association has asked every council in the UK what its policies are on staff using e-cigarettes. Using freedom of information requests, all UK councils (district, county, unitary, metropolitan, London boroughs, and the City of London Corporation) were asked if their policies on vaping differed from those on smoking; if they allowed vaping in the workplace; and if e-cigarette users were required to vape in designated smoking shelters.
In total, 386 councils responded - a successful response rate of over 92.5 per cent. The key findings of this research show that:
● 112 councils (29 per cent of those who responded) require vapers to use designated smoking areas in all or some circumstances, despite that fact that vapers are not smokers - indeed the vast majority of those who vape do so as a means of quitting combustible tobacco or to reduce the amount of tobacco they consume. Two included in the list required vapers to vape in close proximity to designated smoking areas.
● 335 councils (87 per cent of those who responded) have the same (or effectively the same) policy on vaping as they do on smoking.
● Just one council - the London Borough of Enfield - allows vaping indoors and actively encourages staff to vape instead of smoking combustible tobacco, in line with recommendations from Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians.
● Three other councils (Belfast, Chiltern and South Bucks) allow vaping at desks; however, they do so because currently there isn’t a policy in place.
Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns for The Freedom Association and the report's author, said:
"Public Health England stated earlier this year that smoke free policies should display a clear distinction between vaping and smoking, and that it is never acceptable to require vapers to share the same outdoor space with smokers. It is clear from this report that the vast majority of councils across the UK are ignoring this advice.
"All councils should now review their vaping policies in-line with the recommendations of Public Health England. Those councils who currently require vapers to vape in designated smoking areas, should now immediately change their policies, and all councils allow some form of indoor vaping based on the current evidence that indoor vaping does not constitute a risk to public health."