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Vaping Indoors: Law, Health, and Home Damage

Published 20 September 2023, Updated 9 April 2024

Vaping Indoors: Law, Health, and Home Damage

Vaping indoors is an activity that e-cigarette users often question in the context of legality, health impact on others via secondhand vapour, and home damage concerns such as staining walls and lingering vapour smells.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) notes that the laws prohibiting smoking in enclosed public spaces and workplaces do not cover vaping, and organisations are free to make their own policies on vaping indoors on their premises at their own discretion.

Vaping indoors is not illegal, but policies vary between establishments such as pubs, restaurants and stores. It is always best to ask the management staff if you can vape indoors if it is not clear that you are allowed to do so.

Vaping at work is not illegal, but employers are free to establish their own policies about vaping while at work and vaping inside the workplace. Public Health England (PHE) advises employers to support employees trying to quit smoking using e-cigarettes. PHE advises employers to exercise reasonable discretion when allowing or prohibiting vaping inside the workplace.

Vaping inside does increase the likelihood of staining walls and lingering vape smells. Unlike cigarette smoke, interior damage from e-cigarette vapour is temporary and can be easily cleaned.

Can You Vape Indoors?

Vaping indoors in your own home is not legally restricted or prohibited. Vaping inside your home is a personal decision that you have the freedom to make at your own discretion. Consider the impact on other residents of your home and the potential for any lingering smells if you decide to vape indoors.

Can I Vape Indoors if I Rent My Home?

Yes, you can vape indoors in rented accommodation because it is likely that your rental agreement only prohibits smoking indoors – not vaping indoors. If you are in doubt, check your rental agreement or ask your landlord for clarification prior to vaping indoors.

Is It Illegal to Vape Indoors?

It is not illegal to vape indoors because there is no law prohibiting vaping inside public places or vaping inside your own home. However, if you are inside a public place, vaping may be against the policy of the establishment, so you should check with the establishment management before vaping indoors.

According to a recent report published by Public Health England titled “Use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces”, vaping indoors is not prohibited under the Health Act 2006, which prohibits smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces, on public transport and in vehicles used for work. According to Public Health England, the international peer-reviewed evidence indicates that the risk to the health of bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour is “extremely low”. Public Health England notes that managers of public places and workplaces should ensure that this evidence informs their risk assessments when deciding whether to allow vaping indoors.

Can You Vape in a Pub?

Unlike the smoking ban, no law prohibits vaping inside a pub. The establishment has ultimate discretion in allowing or prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in its pub. It is best to check with the establishment’s management before you decide to vape in a pub.

Are You Allowed to Vape in Wetherspoon Pubs?

No, you are not allowed to vape inside any Wetherspoons pub. According to the Pubs FAQ section of the J D Wetherspoon plc website, “We do not permit the use of electronic cigarettes/vaporisers outside of the designated smoking areas on our premises. This includes hotel rooms and external areas”.

Are You Allowed to Vape in Mitchells & Butlers Pubs?

No, you are not allowed to vape inside any pubs or restaurants owned by Mitchells & Butlers plc, which includes All Bar One, Miller & Carter, Nicholson's, Toby Carvery, Harvester, Browns Restaurants, Vintage Inns, Ember Inns, Son of Steak, Stonehouse Pizza & Grill, Crown Carveries, O'Neill's, Premium Country Pubs, and Sizzling Pubs.

According to the FAQ section of the Sizzling Pubs website, “For the comfort of all our guests Mitchells & Butlers do not allow the use of electronic cigarettes within our premises”.

Are You Allowed to Vape in Green King Pubs?

No, you are not allowed to vape inside any pubs or restaurants owned by Greene King plc, which includes Greene King Pubs, Chef and Brewer, Farmhouse Inns, Hungry Horse, Greene King Inns, Metropolitan Pub Company, and Wacky Warehouse.

According to the FAQ section of the Hungry Horse website, “Due to their similarity in appearance to tobacco based product and the confusion and potential upset their use may cause to non-smoking customers, Hungry Horse has decided that use of electronic cigarettes will be prohibited under all circumstances inside our locations. However, all Hungry Horse pubs have designated smoking areas outside”.

Are You Allowed to Vape in Stonegate Pub Company Pubs?

No, you are not allowed to vape inside any pubs or restaurants owned by Stonegate Pub Company, which includes Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout, Be At One, and venues including Popworld and Fever. Vaping is not allowed inside any of its venues due to the “remarkable likeness” to cigarettes, according to a spokesperson at the Stonegate Pub Company.

Can You Vape in a Restaurant?

Unlike the smoking ban, no law prohibits vaping inside a restaurant. The restaurant has ultimate discretion in allowing or prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in its eatery. It is best to check with the establishment’s management before you decide to vape in a restaurant.

Are You Allowed to Vape in Nando’s?

There is no company policy against vaping inside a Nando’s restaurant. According to a 2015 tweet published by the official NandosUK Twitter account, “we don't have a company policy on it, so it'd be best to ask the Manager when you visit”.

Are You Allowed to Vape in McDonald's?

No, vaping is not permitted inside any McDonald’s restaurant in the UK. In a statement to IndeJuice, a McDonald’s spokesperson said, “We aim to maintain a comfortable and inviting environment for families in our dining establishments. Given that e-cigarettes can often be mistaken for real smoking, which may cause discomfort to other patrons, we have decided to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in our UK-based restaurants.”

Can You Vape in a Store?

Unlike the smoking ban, no law prohibits vaping inside a store. The shopping store has ultimate discretion in allowing or prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes inside its premises. It is best to check with the store’s management before you decide to vape inside a store while shopping.

Are You Allowed to Vape in Tesco?

No, you are not allowed to vape inside any Tesco store or supermarket. In a 2015 statement from Tesco to The Bournemouth Daily Echo newspaper, the business explained that their aim is to “provide a safe and healthy environment for our colleagues and customers”, and as such, both smoking and vaping e-cigarettes are not allowed in Tesco stores.

Can You Vape Inside Public Places?

Unlike the smoking ban, no law prohibits vaping in public places. However, many public places like restaurants, bars, shopping centres, and cinemas have implemented their own policies against vaping. This is mainly due to the fact that e-cigarettes can often be mistaken for real smoking, which may cause discomfort to other customers.

Public transportation systems and airports have restrictions on vaping that are similar to their policies on traditional smoking. Even though there's no specific law against vaping in public places, it's always best to check the rules of the specific place you're in or ask a staff member if you're unsure.

Can You Vape at Work?

Vaping at work is not illegal, but it is up to your employer to allow or prohibit employees from using e-cigarettes at work. Acas guidance advises employers to support employees who are using e-cigarettes as part of a plan to stop smoking. It is best to check with your employer before deciding to vape at work.

Can You Vape Inside at Work?

Vaping inside your office building or workplace is not prohibited by any specific law. Your employer has discretion on whether to permit or forbid vaping inside the office. It is best to check your employee handbook or consult your line manager if unsure whether you can vape inside or at your desk.

Is Vaping Indoors Harmful to Others?

Vaping indoors might be harmful to others, although scientific evidence is conflicting. The American Thoracic Society consider secondhand vape exposure harmful to those around you, whereas Public Health England says that the risk to the health of bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour is extremely low.

Below is a review of the two leading studies evidencing the health implications of Secondhand Vape Exposure when vaping indoors.

Dr. Khandaker Talat Islam, an Assistant Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, authored a study in 2022. This study, published in the BMJ Thorax journal, concluded that secondhand nicotine vape exposure was associated with an increased risk of bronchitic symptoms and shortness of breath among young adults. However, the study did not find a link between secondhand vape exposure and wheezing.

Professor John Britton and Dr. Ilze Bogdanovica of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Nottingham authored a study in 2014. This study, published by Public Health England, concluded that as electronic cigarettes do not produce smoke, the well-documented effects of passive exposure of others to cigarette smoke do not apply to vaping indoors. Professor Britton further explained that electronic cigarette use in an enclosed space exposes others to nicotine at levels about one-tenth generated by a cigarette but little else. Therefore, the health risks of passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapour from someone vaping indoors are likely extremely low, according to Professor Britton.

Following the study authored by Professor Britton and Dr. Bogdanovica, the authors of Public Health England’s 2015 E-cigarette Evidence Review reached a similar conclusion: “EC [e-cigarettes] release negligible levels of nicotine into ambient air with no identified health risks to bystanders”.

In conclusion, scientific studies have not determined with certainty whether vaping indoors impacts the health of those around you. More research is required. In the meantime, it is best to be cautious and only vape indoors if you are alone.

Does Vaping Indoors Damage a House?

Vaping indoors does not permanently damage a house, but vapour can linger, and residue from vapour may build up over time. If you want to vape indoors, open a window and keep the area well-ventilated, as this will decrease the likelihood of residue build-up and stains from e-cigarette vapour.

According to Erik J. Martin from The Mortgage Reports, persistent vaping inside your home can increase the likelihood of oily surfaces and attracting dirt and dust. He suggests airing out your home and cleaning the walls regularly to minimise any impact from vaping indoors.

Does Vaping Indoors Stain Walls?

Vaping inside does stain walls over the course of 6-12 months of heavy indoor vape usage. This is partly due to the nicotine content in vapour, which can cause yellow staining, and partly because vapour residue on the walls can attract dust and dirt, which can stick to your interior walls.

To prevent wall staining from indoor vaping, it's recommended to maintain good ventilation in the area and conduct a thorough cleaning of your home every six months. This should include wiping the walls with a damp cloth and ensuring they are properly dried afterwards to prevent the growth of mould.

Does Vaping Indoors Leave a Smell?

Vaping inside can leave a smell of the e-cigarette flavour for up to 5 minutes. Unlike traditional cigarettes, which leave a persistent and often unpleasant odour, the smell from vaping tends to be less intense and dissipates more quickly. To ensure the smell does not linger, maintain good ventilation.

How to Get Rid of a Vape Smell Indoors

To get rid of a vape smell in your room or house, follow the 3 steps below.

  1. Open a window.
  2. Spray an air freshener.
  3. Wait for 5 minutes.

These steps will eliminate vape-related smells from your home, room, or other interior area.

How To Vape Indoors Without Setting Off Smoke Alarm

To Vape Without Setting Off a Smoke Alarm, ventilate the area and adapt your vaping style by taking shorter puffs to reduce vapour output. Modify your vape setup by using low VG e-liquids, which produce less dense vapour.

As a last resort, you can change your device to a more discreet option, such as a Mouth to Lung (MTL) vape kit or a vapourless vape, to minimise visible vapour and reduce the risk of setting off the smoke alarm when vaping indoors.

Can You Vape Inside Airports?

No, Vaping in Airports and on Airplanes is strictly prohibited. However, most airports have designated smoking and/or vaping areas outside the terminal where vaping is permitted.

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