A Call for Vape Friends Logos
Wed 18 Oct 2017
Smoking bans are not solely a result of modern political philosophy. In the year 1575, tobacco was banned in Mexican churches. Once prohibited in the Ottoman empire, smokers were executed by the Sultan Murad IV in 1663. Many more bans came and went, including covering most public buildings in Germany during the Nazi regime.
In 1990, San Luis Obispo in California became the first city to legally prohibit smoking inside bars as well as restaurants, following suit from a few cities where smoking was banned in eateries alone.
Less than 30 years later, smoking is still permitted and commonplace in many indoor environments in the USA but this is quickly changing.
Throughout the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, the UK saw a progression from a partial to complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places. Much debate was had at the time regarding the future of public houses, civil liberties campaigners vs non-smokers claiming their right not to inhale smoke, the dangers of second hand smoke etc etc. The debate still goes on somewhat.
I cannot recall a similar debate in regards to vaping. There is undoubtedly the odd grumble here and there, but by and large vaping has been accepted by non-smokers as a happy medium. The law permits vaping indoors, but each company, authority and owner of a public building is within their rights to request a vaper not to vape.
Having therefore sought the opinions of people who have neither smoked nor vaped, I believe this debate has not been had for several reasons;
1. The smell is often significantly more pleasant, while it doesn’t cling to clothes and hair like cigarette smoke.
2. Non-smokers are for the most part NOT the killjoys they were presented as during the advent of the smoking ban. There were very good reasons for the smoking ban (as acknowledged by many smokers) and as such feel that vaping is a great idea in so many ways and should be encouraged.
3. The health risks are considered to be non-existent, at least in terms of “second-hand vape”.
4. There is no damage to the environment that cigarettes created (yellow walls, litter, burn holes etc.)
Despite these sentiments, the stigma that goes with smoking has followed suit in some ways to those who now vape. There are very few office spaces who accept vaping inside. Try and vape inside these and the chances are it breaches some sort of policy and you can be sacked. The UK Parliament (who in all fairness should get great credit here) have a committee named “The Tobacco Control Plan”, which amongst other things has reminded employers that vaping does not come under any prohibition law.
I feel in many pubs that it is associated with smoking still, and despite the downfall of many pubs after the smoking ban, an aura of concern still surrounds the issue.
This is why I am calling for a green “Vape-Friendly” sign. One that can go next to the red no smoking signs. Sensible vaping should be encouraged around it, i.e no large clouds, respect those nearby etc. If the bigger companies could get together and get this idea out there, I can see so many positives. A lot of these office space owners, business directors, landlords are not absolutely anti-vaping per se, they are still embroiled in the anti-smoking sentiment and view vaping as a mere extension of this.
Vaping is currently viewed by the NHS as not only as an acceptable and encouraged method of smoking cessation, it is also being considered as a potential prescription, a medication in a sense. Imagine your employer sacking someone for vaping and it turns out they were prescribed it!
Lets finish the job in making vaping socially acceptable and get some green vaping signs out there!
Written by ELFC content creator Alex Blatherwick
Further reading: 5 Lies About Vaping Portrayed in the Media