Smoking e-cigarettes in taxis may soon be prohibited if legislators in Ribble Valley, Lancashire get their way.
The licensing committee of the borough will deliberate on the proposal to change the standard operating conditions for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles. If this idea is approved it will be made unlawful for a driver to smoke in a vehicle or allow any of his or her passengers to smoke in a vehicle. For the avoidance of doubt this includes vaping electronic cigarettes or any other kind of vapour producing smoking device.
The council first discussed the idea in March after they had received an inquiry from a driver of a taxi, on whether the existing ban on smoking included electronic cigarettes. The conditions of the council for taxi drivers plainly states that they are not allowed to smoke in the motor vehicle or allow any of his or her passengers to smoke in the motor vehicle, without mentioning electronic cigarettes. As we all know you don’t “smoke” an e cigarette, you “vape” it. Absolutely no smoke is produced from an e cigarette at all.
In the Health Act of 2006, smoking is defined as the act of tobacco smoking or smoking any other thing that contains tobacco and being in possession of lit tobacco. The council said that during the period of consultation it received 3 responses from taxi firms that were all in support of the proposed plan.
Sajjad Asghar who is the owner of Clitheroe Taxis, said that the plan should have been implemented a long time ago and that it’s a superb idea, because some of their drivers find it hard to tell if the passenger is smoking an e- cigarette or a real cigarette. Sajjad added that this kind of ban is great for the health of the entire community and it will also help people to quit smoking. He also said that in spite of the fact that the idea would only make a small difference, he still welcomes it.
In April, Diane Rice who is the head of democratic and legal services of the council wrote to all licence holders and drivers, advising them to consult the council on the proposed alterations.
Simon O’Rourke who is the Clitheroe Town councillor said that he thinks it is a great idea that would greatly assist taxi firms. He also added that he thinks that more scientific research should be done on the effects of electronic cigarettes, particularly their long-term effects.
The British Medical Association, which represents most of the doctors in Britain, backed the recent recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that countries should ban the indoor smoking of electronic cigarettes. The WHO also said that electronic cigarettes should be subjected to much tighter restrictions on their content, use, sale and promotion.
Others would say that second hand vapour produces no risk at all, and it should be up to the drivers discretion if they want to allow people to vape in their taxis or not.
What do you think? Do you think banning electronic cigarettes in taxis is a good idea? We welcome your thoughts.
Author: Kevin Ewbank
Avid vaper & co-founder of SmokShop