‘Vaping zones’ get thumbs up from fliers
Fliers travelling at Heathrow from today will notice a new arrival to London’s biggest transport hub in the form of a so-called vaping zone, where smokers can get their nicotine fix before boarding an aircraft provided they use electronic cigarettes.
The area, measuring 323 square feet and located in the International Departures Lounge in Terminal 4, is the first of its kind, but high approval ratings from both smokers and nonsmokers could lead to it becoming a fixture in other airports across the country.
Despite the fact e-cigarettes produce only water vapour and are considered better than their counterparts, UK airports have refused to distinguish them from normal cigarettes in terms of whether they come under the smoking ban.
However, this could be set to change following a survey from Skyscanner that indicated a 57 per cent approval rating across 1,000 travellers regarding the newly designated vaping zone.
Heathrow advises smokers on its website that electronic cigarettes are “subject to the same restrictions as standard cigarettes and therefore cannot be used inside terminal buildings, except in the designated e-cigarette lounge in Terminal 4”.
The airport also states travellers should check with their airline as to whether they are allowed to carry e-cigarettes on their person during the flight.
While the Skyscanner research indicated approval among travellers for vaping zones, only one in five said they would support the use of e-cigarettes anywhere in the terminal building, while only 40 per cent suggested their use should be permitted on the plane.
The British Medical Association has said it believes e-cigarettes should be subject to exactly the same conditions under the smoking ban as their traditional counterparts because they might make “cigarette use seem normal in public and at work”.
Smoking in the travel industry was caught in a similar controversy this summer when a number of leading cruise operators banned smoking on private balconies.