Vaping in bars; the bartender’s perspective [guest post]

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Pubs | 51 Comments


I don’t often feature guest posts on the BeerCast, certainly not since back in the day when we were a loose collection of beery wannabes, anyway. After buying out the other BeerCasters in a series of aggressively litigious takeovers, it’s pretty much just me here, rattling around the empty corridors. However, yesterday I was DM’d by Joe Dick, Edinburgh bartender extraordinaire, who has a strong – and frontline – opinion on something I’ve not seen discussed that often to date; ‘Vaping’. Joe offered to write about Vaping in bars, from his perspective – so I could only say yes…

As part of my job as a bartender I pride myself on going above and beyond whatever the customer asks of me in the name of good service, all I ask for in return is good etiquette. This request is honoured almost every time, with the exception of a few forgotten Ps and Qs, allowing me to enjoy my job and my guests to enjoy their time in the bar. However, within the past year a new threat to this harmonious balance has appeared: a neon blue glue appears at the corner of a customer’s mouth, partnered seconds later by a white plume which is then followed by an acrid aroma, peculiar and unwelcome, that lingers in the air for minutes.

‘Vaping’ is the practice of using a battery-powered atomizer to vaporize a mixture of propylene glycol, nicotine, and a flavouring to simulate the smoking experience. Manufacturers SkyCig claim ‘the vapour released when exhaling an e-cigarette contains water, edible flavourings & emulsifiers (including propylene glycol), edible perfumes, and a small dosage of nicotine.’ They continue ‘there has not yet been a significant amount of research completed in this area specifically relating to electronic cigarettes’. They are currently completely unregulated by any legislation meaning that legally they can be used anywhere.

In 2006 Scotland took a major step in improving the health of the public by banning smoking in public places. I was only 17 at the time and can say with absolute confidence that if it were not for this Act I would never have worked in a bar and would have been loathe to spend any time in them, either. The thought of breathing in unknown, unquantified, and unwelcome compounds horrified me. The death of much loved Entertainer Roy Castle being attributed to inhaling second hand smoke terrified me. To be asked to risk death or illness from other people’s wanton selfishness in the work place was unthinkable. Yet this is something that we are now beginning to be expected to do again.

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for quite a while, but never had the time; or assumed that somebody else would first, meaning I could rest easy and just retweet it. However I had a recent bad experience with a ‘vaping’ customer that crystallised my feelings on the topic. Whilst clearing tables I noticed a ‘vaping’ device on the guest’s table, I politely notified him of our policy that we do not allow such devices to be used in our bar, they replied with a sullen “OK.” and I assumed that was the end of the matter. Shortly after, the guest came to the bar and told me “I really enjoy this place and will never be returning due to this policy, and I hope numerous others follow suit.”

I replied saying that I was disappointed he had decided this and explained that because they have not been proven safe, look unsightly, and are far from being welcomed universally we didn’t allow them. The guest then stated that “for years I loved going to the pub, having a smoke and a read, the government took that away from me, so now I enjoy doing this instead. I’d still smoke in bars if it were legal.” I then told the guest that ‘I do not believe I should have to breathe in these potentially hazardous chemicals in my workplace’, this didn’t seem to concern the guest who retorted “Vaping releases the same output as a cup of coffee,” and considered the matter closed.

The thing that really annoyed me, to the point of actually writing this article, was the guest’s absolute indifference to polluting the atmosphere that other people breathe. It has been universally proven that inhaling smoke (directly or indirectly) from cigarettes is fatal, yet this guest would willingly still force that upon other people, as if it were a right.

This attitude is prevalent amongst the ‘vapers’ that I have informed of our bar’s policy. As a rough estimate somewhere around 2% of them asked beforehand whether it was OK to use their devices in the bar. This means that roughly 98% of the ‘vapers’ that I’ve dealt with in my job felt it was totally acceptable to release vapours that are unknown even to the manufacturers. This statistic (albeit extremely rough) represents an absolute collapse of etiquette.

The effects are not only limited to the potentially hazardous chemicals. Releasing such strong aromas is also impolite, the aroma of any food or drink being consumed nearby will now be tinged for the next couple of minutes by whatever flavour said ‘vaper’ is using. In my experience the majority of these people use this bizarre Vanilla flavour that sits heavy in the air, and that in my opinion is even perceptible on the tongue. Even if it these devices were to be proved safe I would still advocate a policy prohibiting their use in the bar because of the way the aromas effect other guests flavour experiences.

Additionally it is my opinion that it is unsightly to see smoke/vapour/pretend smoke blasting from somebody’s mouth, or in the rare but notable cases of such a dullard wanting to show off smoke rings being cascaded around the bar. Let it be noted that I am not ignorant to the fact that these are supposed to be used to replace and eventually eradicate a smoking habit. I am rather sceptical of this fact though. Due to their sale, manufacture, and use all being unregulated it remains dubious that they can be trusted to perform in this way, it is reported that nictoine levels and other contents of other harmful volatiles vary widely.

Health issues aside, this is an issue about etiquette. How we behave in bars, towards staff and other patrons, is of critical importance. It is unacceptable to butt in and pollute the conversations of others. It is certainly unacceptable to wander around adding unknown entities to other people’s drinks. I believe that it is also unacceptable to alter the atmosphere that other patrons and staff have to breathe to survive, and thus argue that ‘vaping’ be banned from bars, restaurants and other public places.

Now, I’m also a life-long non-smoker – and being a couple of years (at most) older than Joe, remember well going to below street-level pubs and wading through the fug to the bar. But my Dad can remember the days when everyone smoked at their desks, at work. You may well too; the idea of someone next to me in the open plan sparking up just seems crazy – but there you go. Will ‘Vaping’ go the same way? Or will it become the more socially acceptable face of smoking, if it isn’t already? And, most importantly, what about Vaping in bars – are bartenders like our Joe entitled to a vape-free workplace?

Only yesterday, the Scotsman published this article relating to an upcoming BMA Scotland Conference, at which the issue of an e-cigarette public ban will be debated…


  1. Tony Kiernan
    March 10, 2014

    “these are supposed to be used to replace and eventually eradicate a smoking habit”

    And, as such they should still have to go stand outside. If you want to wean someone off a habit, you don’t make it less awkward for them to keep that habit.

    Full disclosure: sanctimonious former smoker

  2. Graham
    March 10, 2014

    Nice one Joe well put

  3. Phil Morton
    March 10, 2014

    “a neon blue glue appears at the corner of a customer’s mouth”

    That sounds like a pretty serious side-effect

  4. Emma
    March 10, 2014

    As a patron of bars and pubs I don’t see why people should be able to do this inside. Go outside, like smokers have to, and don’t bother other customers with your fumes. Pubs are SO MUCH more pleasant to be in since smoking was banned. And I fully accept that in Summer I can’t sit outside pubs because of other people’s smoke. I’m happy to pay that price to have a smoke-free indoor environment.

    Also – actually go OUTSIDE when you smoke, don’t just stand in the doorway and allow all of your smoke to travel back into the bar. We ended up leaving The North Bar, Leeds after one quick drink on our first visit there because of this very problem. So it works both ways – customers who DON’T like smoking will also leave your establishment if there is an issue that affects their enjoyment of their experience there.

    Another former smoker btw – I was perfectly happy to smoke outside when I was smoking.

  5. Eddie Marshall
    March 10, 2014

    A very interesting article. This is a debate that needs to be had. i have not personally had much of an issue with this but that doesn’t mean that the issue doesn’t need to be looked at.

  6. JamesB
    March 10, 2014

    As a fairly heavy smoker and someone completely against a compulsory smoking ban I believe that if tobacco products aren’t able to be smoked in the premised then neither should e-cigs or vaping pens. Let them suffer like the rest of us.

  7. Douglas Hicks
    March 10, 2014

    So much is wrong with this article. Health comes up a lot with no evidence to support your point, do you have any, or is it just your opinion? See what’s in Vapour following:

    Business should decide what happens on their property. If you think it’s in your interest not to cater to vapers fine, just stop making up excuses for your decision.

    I suppose one day caffeine drinkers will be sent outside because of their habit and perfumed women will be forbidden.

    And this all will keep pubs afloat?

  8. Joe
    March 10, 2014

    It is patently obvious that this is an opinion piece.

    I’ve only had a brief scan of the report you link me to, it does make many assumptions, the most glaring of which being ‘Each puff contains the same quantity of compounds studied.’ Due to the wide variety of apparatus available and different fillings used in them this will never be true in a real world scenario. Also based on my studies of distillation (these devices work on the same principle) there are concerns linked with entrainment.

    Our decision isn’t “not to cater to ‘vapers'” it is a decision to protect the health of our guests and staff from what is an unknown risk to their health and an unpleasant experience for others.

  9. Douglas Hicks
    March 10, 2014

    Begs the question, what are the dangers to the health of your customers of the products that you do sell? Caffeine and alcohol, known risks? You are making a business decision, that’s OK, do not try and justify with poor science.

  10. Joe
    March 10, 2014

    The consumption of alcoholic drinks does not expose others around the consumer to the same noxious chemicals. ‘Vaping’ does.

  11. Elliot Adams
    March 10, 2014

    @Douglas Hicks: The two key differences are that this establishment is selling neither the device nor the provision of a space to use one, and secondly the customers using the services the bar does provide are not forcing the staff to partake too. It is a matter of choice, I too miss being free to choose to smoke in pubs, but that choice impacted on others’ freedom not to partake – an imposition that grew with our awareness of the potential danger of secondhand smoke. The situation with vaping is equivalent.

  12. richie
    March 10, 2014

    Although a non-smoker I really don’t see the problem and in all honesty find this post more than a little sanctimonious.

    Smoking was not banned because people found it distasteful but because of the serious and documented health risk caused by second hand smoke. As yet there is absolutely no evidence of any health risk caused by these e cigqrettes, and certainly if it turns out there is any I’m sure it will be way less than say exhaust fumes yet I don’t see a queue of people calling for cars to be banned.

    The sanctimonious bit however is someone who.makes their living selling alcohol preaching to anyone about health risks. Alcohol causes.major damage to people’s health too and how many pubs actually stick to the regulations regarding not serving alcohol to someone who is drunk.

    Perhaps if the author is concerned about health risks they should consider another career?

  13. Craig
    March 10, 2014

    @richie but the Authors point was Health Risk to Other, we all know alcohol carried Health risks but those are risks we pose upon ourselves. Smoking was Banned because of the Health Risks posed on Other. In light of any evidence showing these Tobacco products to pose no risk to others, it seems perfectly reasonable to apply a degree of caution. But even allowing for no risk. Pubs dont let me bring my own food in, many wont allow children, some dont allow dogs. So what is wrong with them saying no to these products.

  14. Joe
    March 10, 2014

    Alcohol when consumed and served responsibly is not deadly. Nicotine is.

  15. Rob
    March 10, 2014

    It’s up to the pub in question to not allow them, but it is equally up to the punter to decide not to go. If you’re happy losing the business then fine. But don’t dress it up as some public health question, which you clearly know nothing about.

  16. Danno
    March 10, 2014

    Echoing the thoughts of others, pubs are free to set their own policy, and e-cig users are free to take their trade elsewhere. I’m a bit undecided on this, but I do find Joe’s notion that all e-cig users are uncaring and willingly putting others at risk to be very presumptive. I imagine most ex-smokers are just happy to have found something that works for them and haven’t considered that something which is approved as a “cure” to their habit may actually be harmful to others.

    At the very least (barring the possibility that any of the posters here are medical researchers) I think we can agree that no one knows definitively what side effect vapors may have.

  17. Rob
    March 10, 2014

    Nicotine is not deadly. Not by any stretch. The other compounds associated with smoking are harmful (but even then is often overstated, particularly 2nd hand smoke). There is no evidence that e-cigs are harmful at all.

    I am also rather dubious about the role of the pharmaceutical lobby in all of this, as it is clearly not in their interests to allow a relatively cheap product, that seems to work better than their patches and gums etc, into the marketplace.

  18. Joe
    March 10, 2014

    Let’s look at this from another angle. A guy walks into a bar with an unmarked canister of gas and lets some out. Is that OK?

  19. Flanker
    March 10, 2014

    Well, I suppose I should have had the barkeep at brewdog kick out that B.O. riddled person after all. The smell offended so much that it ruined my entire night so it did. Suppose I should also go outside to chew on nicotine gum or apply my patch too. I don’t blow clouds, so catch me if you can (you won’t, I don’t have that blue glue).

  20. Rob
    March 10, 2014

    What about if he walked in with a straw man. Who knows what sort of harmful pesticides might be on that straw.

  21. Douglas Hicks
    March 10, 2014

    Nicotine is not deadly, unless you wish to drink it in volume. But that can be said about both caffeine and alcohol.

  22. Joe
    March 10, 2014

    Just realised who payed for that study.

    So far no argument so far that’s anything other than selfish. Is there no consideration of others or politeness?

    Less than 50 years ago people were having the same debate about tobacco….

  23. Pete
    March 10, 2014

    Must say, never noticed vaping as being a problem, but then I don’t work in a bar for a living and I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed the fruit/vanilla flavours being used. I’ve been sat at the same table as two guys vaping in the Golden Rule, and my Caesar Augustus tasted fine to me.

    Which chemical do you think is the problem from the health perspective? The propylene glycol? It’s also used in lots of food products, perhaps even some of those served in the Bat.

    If it’s air pollution you’re worried about, I’d be more concerned about the fumes from the traffic on Lothian Rd, to be honest.

  24. Douglas Hicks
    March 10, 2014

    You do not seem to like that study from Drexel Univ., so go to the link below and you will be spoilt for choice:

  25. Joe
    March 10, 2014

    I’d say the ones that concern me are the ones that are in them that even the manufacturers don’t know about.

  26. Pete
    March 10, 2014

    Incidentally, and almost entirely off-topic, you know all that smoked meat you serve (which I love, by the way)?

    Seems to me there are enough things in our daily lives that we know are definitely bad for us, without having to worry about the unknowns too.

    I think your point about etiquette is far more interesting than the health point. I find it fascinating to see the change in attitudes since the smoking ban came in, but then I am an old codger now…

  27. vereybowring
    March 11, 2014

    For those with an interest I have two links for you.
    The first is one of the largest studies ever conducted on second hand smoke.

    The second is to a site run by public health experts who have collated as much information as they can about nicotine and since it is the subject of this article, electronic cigarettes.
    New studies are appearing nearly every week as researchers have a second look at nicotine when separated from smoking and indeed at the new phenomenon of “vaping”.

    It is of course the right of any premises to decide on what behaviours are to be tolerated within its bounds. Indeed as I said I do think there should be smoking and non-smoking establishments and the total indoor ban is nonsensical where complete separation is possible (even to the point of smoking establishments only having staff who smoke or who are willing to sign legal waivers to work in them).

    I worked many years in bars and restaurants and always thought complete separation of smoking and non-smoking would be wise. I was a smoker and now I am a vaper and have to say I would be one of the ones who asked an establishment if I could use my device (which in no way resembles a cigarette) as this is common courtesy just as I asked when I was a smoker.
    I have been following the science on electronic smoking for the last three years and will continue to do so, but as things stand they are possibly a thousand times safer for me than smoking and except for studies with some quite bizarre methodologies or statistical manipulations they have so far proven to hand no second hand effect apart from visible vapour and odours.
    Frankly if odours are such a concern then all perfumes should be banned. As for the vapour many smoke machines used in venues use two of the same ingredients PG (propylene glycol) and VG (vegetable glycerine – glycol) but e cigs also add a flavouring and nicotine.
    If the nicotine others may be exhaling worries you you may want to think about ceasing to consume many vegetables which also contain it (tomatoes, aubergines etc.) since they contain similar trace quantities found in exhaled vapours.

    As for alcohol not causing harm to others in the room I will say two things – fights that drunk people start in bars and the damage drunk people cause in public including fighting in the street, drink driving, vandalism etc.

  28. Richie
    March 11, 2014

    Of course joe, sorry, how silly of me. I was forgetting, ee live in Scotland where no one ever drinks irresponsibly and pubs never sell people more than a couple of drinks in contravention of the licensing legislation stating alcohol should not be served to people who are drunk.

    Cursory fact checking would have shown you that unless someone is being incredibly stupid and drinking their nicotine solution it is not deadly. In fact I’d contend it’s far easier to consume enough alcohol to die in one evening than it would be to vape yourself to death.

    Maybe you should drop pithy and poorly considered arguments about health and admit that this is about personal distaste, nothing more.

    Fundamentally you can’t ban something for health risks to others when there is no evidence of there being any. And as for studies the majority of any carried out will have been done by governments and tobacco companies both of whose primary interest will lie in controlling and taxing nicotine solutions.

    I find sanctimonious, hypocritical and poorly considered blog pieces on the Internet raise my stress levels and probably put me at increased risk of stress related illness or heart disease, should we ban those too?

    And before you say I have a choice, you, there are plenty of other un-skilled jobs you could choose from. Alternatively go to.uni and do journalism. The Daily Mail always have room for vaguely hysterical, poorly researched opinion pieces.

  29. Rob
    March 11, 2014

    Joe, pretty much everyone has says your bar can ban them if they wish. But your attempts to justify it are sounding increasingly hysterical. It is not selfish to point out the inadequacies in your arguments.

  30. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    Here’s my take on this (hugely interesting) issue. E-cigs haven’t yet been proved totally safe, otherwise manufacturers like SkyCig wouldn’t have to admit that there hasn’t been a definitive amount of research done; you can bet if they had been cleared, they would be mentioning it. Conversely, then, there’s no reason to ban these electronic cigarettes on health grounds – there’s no proof they are harmful. They can be legally bought, and used, anywhere by anyone (I’ve read anti-smoking campaigners concerns that they make smoking ‘cool’ for young’uns, for example).

    So, what this boils down to is Joe’s right to either allow or not allow them in his bar, versus the rights of vapers to go and drink somewhere else. He mentioned throughout the post that it’s an opinion piece, based on his experience of dealing with customers. It’s not directly comparable to alcohol consumption, as those risks are self-perpetrated – the use of e-cigs and vaping is more equivalent to strong perfume, as someone mentioned, or maybe someone with hugely offensive body odour. But, knowing Joe, and the pride he takes in his bar and his work, I would imagine he would politely ask those people to leave as well, if they were causing offence to others.

    That’s the bottom line here – if someone enters a licenced premises and acts in a way that causes others to not enjoy themselves, it’s the right of the staff to refuse service. Just like it’s the rights of the vapers to politely disagree, vape or smoke outside, or drink elsewhere.

  31. Rob
    March 11, 2014

    Rich, has anyone said he doesn’t have the right to ban e-cigs in his bar?

    That is not the objection to his blog. It’s the dressing up of his personal distaste as some sort of health concern, when he doesn’t know anything about the subject.

    And I think you will find that BO or perfume is generally a much stronger smell than vaping. (Not saying that there aren’t ones that can smell, but most of the time you’d hard picked to notice it).

    If he hadn’t come up with the flimsy justifications and simply said: “We don’t like e-cigs so we don’t allow them to be used in the bar”, I can’t see that people would have been put out.

    If you want a debate about the safety or otherwise of e-cigs, then maybe get someone who actually knows something about the subject.

  32. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    You’re allowed to have health concerns without peer-reviewed, irrefutable proof – that’s why it’s a ‘concern’

    Likewise, you can have a debate based around an opinion, can’t you?

  33. Rob
    March 11, 2014

    People read your blog because presumably you know something about beer. You could start discussing whatever you like on here, but its relevance is diminished if you don’t know anything about the subject.

  34. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    Thanks, I think. I’m not aware of your background, but as nobody else is owning up to being a clinical oncologist or pharmaceutical expert, maybe our levels of relevance are roughly equivalent?

  35. Richie
    March 11, 2014

    Rob isn’t giving a platform to an article which seems to claim that because smoke inhalation can be fatal vaporsclearly must be.

    That is the core of joe’s article and it is nonsense.the ambiguities reported have by and large been reported by tobacco companies experiencing large drop offs in profits and governments desperate to find a way to tax.

    There have been actual health risks rather than vaguely speculated ones relating to aspartame but bars continue to sell diet sodas and blood pressure issues related to salt consumption yet pubs still sell salted snacks. As another poster pointed out I find the smell of Bo and strong perfumes offensive are we to ban women and fat people from bars next?

    As I’ve said the original poster is masking their personal distaste and prejudice with poorly constructed arguments relating to health, when there is no clear evidence whatsoever. Poor, poor piece.

  36. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    We’re going round in circles here – there’s no point mentioning diet sodas, barbecue food, salted snacks or alcohol; the potential risks associated with those products are self-inflicted. Vaping raises risks – potentially – to other people. Others. Unless you flick peanuts at people, any possible long-term dangers involved with them rest solely with the consumer. Unlike vaping.

    There is no clear evidence either way as to the dangers of vaping; the Scotsman article I linked to quotes a GP “there…[is]…currently no body of research to say that e-cigarettes are safe” and a pro-smoking campaigner “There is no evidence e-cigarettes are harmful to users or other people”. At the moment, personal opinion is all we have to go on, it seems.

  37. Rob
    March 11, 2014

    I know enough to know that Joe doesn’t have a clue about the potential health risks, and is scaremongering. When he starts calling nicotine deadly it really does expose his ignorance on this issue.

    The reason I care about this is because I want to live in a free society. One in which I can buy a drink if I want, and a chocolate bar (not a vaper, because I don’t smoke), without being taxed obscenely. A society where I am treated as an adult capable of considering evidence and deciding for myself. It is the same sort of bodies interfering in this who are leading the current crusades against alcohol and sugar. It is a slippery slope. These medical groups are stepping outside of the laboratory and are attempting social engineering and regulation. I don’t know about anyone else, but that makes me deeply uncomfortable.

    I think that e-cigs should be regulated in the same way as other food stuffs. Not a medicine, which would hand control back to the pharmaceutical companies and medical socialists.

  38. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    All noble aspirations Rob (if you’ll pardon the pun) – but your final fear looks to be set to come true, it seems – “Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to regulate electronic cigarettes as a medicine in the coming years.” [Scotsman]

  39. John
    March 11, 2014

    This article does sound to me to be a typical knee-jerk reaction of an anti-smoker, smoking is bad therefore e-cigarettes/vaping must be bad.

    Just to be clear nicotine is not “deadly” in the quantities used, you may be interested to know that nicotine is also to be found in common vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower and cocoa. You are probably consuming more nicotine when eating ketchup and chips than you are inhaling second hand vapour. The argument that they “release vapours that are unknown even to the manufacturers” seems to be complete scaremongering. The argument that people are exposed to aromas that may effect a persons experience seems somewhat petty, a bar isn’t exactly a sterile environment. If the author of this article finds such habits of a small percentage of the public so objectionable then may I suggest he is working the wrong profession.

    I’ve been using e-cigarettes of one form or another for over two years and the one and only time I have been asked to desist was by the author of this article (no I’m not the customer mentioned) and although it has not stopped me from visiting the bar it does make me think twice and I have frequented less often or stayed for a shorter time due to the bars policy. When the smoking ban came into effect I know I visited bars less often, not on principal but as it was a less enjoyable experience (not that I object to the ban, it seems reasonable on health grounds), it would be a shame if the same thing occurred with e-cigarettes/vaping.

  40. Richie
    March 11, 2014

    Not true in the slightest, merely opening a bag of peanuts near someone with an allergy can cause a severe anaphylactic reaction.

    Certainly a far more real danger than any vague perceived one caused by unspecified substances which a blogger who doesn’t really like e cigs or know much about them invents or imagines.

    You’re not calling for the banning of peanuts for this evidence based serious health risk yet your happy to post umpteen replies in support of a call for a ban where there is no actual evidence, real or anecdotal, for a third party health risk?!?

  41. Richard
    March 11, 2014

    I’m also posting umpteen replies opposing a call for a ban where there is no real evidence for a lack of a third party health risk. Everyone gets a say on here, Richie. And I love peanuts.

  42. Mick
    March 11, 2014

    Just my take. I don’t have a particular opinion on e-cigs to be honest. They are not exaz

    I work in a bar in Glasgow city centre, it’s a really busy place. I reckon I can count in one hand the amount of patrons I’ve seen in the last month smoking e-cigs, it’s hardly an issue at all. We’ve never had any complaints from non-e cig-smokers either about left over smells, nor have I ever noticed them. Perhaps this is an Edinburgh boozer phenomenon?

    That being said, I am normally too busy working my balls off ensuring bar and food service runs smoothly, quickly and efficiently.

    I also love peanuts

  43. Sam Munro
    March 12, 2014

    Whether to allow vaping inside of an establishment is at present is down to the proprietors discretion, as it should be.

    As a user of personal vapourisers (ecigs) I have the last word as to whether a bar gets my business or not. Like many I will often vote with my feet.

  44. baz
    March 15, 2014

    Propylene glycol is the same chemical used to produce vapour in theatrical “smoke” machines*. It’s also exceedingly unlikely to be hazardous to health.

    Nicotine (in recreational quantities) is not really what you would consider a harmful substance. It’s similar to caffeine in its hazards.

    You’re really only left with the smell.

    *Some pubs actually ban vaping but use smoke machines. Bizarre.

  45. Grant
    March 18, 2014

    “E-cigs haven’t yet been proved totally safe”

    Please don’t fall into the trap the media are shoving down our throats as they forage about for a good reason to ban these : practically nothing has been proved to be totally safe, but just because that is the case it doesn’t make something automatically dangerous.

    They are a multitude of times safer than cigarettes and there have been conclusive studies about the (lack of) effects of second hand vapour.

  46. Alan
    March 18, 2014

    Well now…

    I am, in fact, the customer to which Joe referred in his blog post and welcome this opportunity to put my side of the story.

    Firstly, I did not reply to Joe’s request with a “sullen” OK. I was perfectly pleasant and put my e-Cig away in my coat pocket. His place, his rules, fair enough. No argument from me there.

    Next time I approached the bar I asked Joe for the reasons behind the ban. He was also perfectly civil and replied that e-Cigs had not been proved safe (technically true, although neither have they been proved in any way harmful, of course), and that they “looked unsightly” (which I thought was a bit weird). I asked Joe if he knew what was in e-Cigs and pointed out that mine only contains propylene glycol, as used in asthma inhalers; nicotine, chemically similar to caffeine (which is where I assume he got the line about it being the same as a cup of coffee) and some vegetable flavourings. I did say that years ago I used to enjoy a cigarette, a beer and a book in a nice pub (which the Hanging Bat certainly is), these days I enjoy vaping as an alternative, and if the Hanging Bat implemented a ban then I would be taking my custom elsewhere. I made the point that I was only telling him this as I hoped other vapers would too, and that ultimately this would perhaps cause the bar to reconsider their policy. He informed me that this was something about which he felt passionate, and that any policy change was highly unlikely. So far, so cool – a reasonably civilized exchange of views.

    Now, one important and glaring omission from Joe’s blog post. While I was still sitting in the bar finishing my beer I thought I’d have a wee look on Twitter to see if I could find any other vaping friendly establishments in the vicinity. What do I find there but Joe tweeting insulting remarks and his Twitter contacts chiming in with equally insulting and, indeed, threatening replies (“throw a cup of coffee in his face, see how he likes that!”, “sonic-screwdriver douchebag”, “ignorant…” and so on).

    I would suggest that the accusation of an “absolute collapse of etiquette” to which Joe refers could be more appropriately directed towards bar staff and their compatriots who publicly insult and threaten customers while they’re having a quiet beer and minding their own business.

    I won’t be returning.

    P.S. For a recent peer-reviewed academic paper which concludes that “within the limits of the observed parameters, e-smoking does not produce detectable amounts of toxic and carcinogenic substances in the air of an enclosed space” see:

  47. David Hayes
    March 20, 2014

    After hunting through Joe’s tweets, I feel it is only fair to show exactly what he was writing about this customer, Alan, whilst he was in the pub. It’s fair enough to sound off to your mates, but remember when you do it on Twitter, EVERYONE can see what you write… and in this case, Alan saw what you were writing about him, at the very time.

    So please Joe, whilst you appear to take a high ground regarding health issues, you frankly in my eyes lose all moral high ground when you publicly insult the same customer who has bought drinks from your pub, ultimately paying for your job.

    Further, I work in nightclubs, and I regularly inhale the same “smoke” that is generated by Vaping devices, the same substance that has been used and inhaled by millions over decases, and we choose not to ban these.

    I am a vaper myself, and I am aware of the bans various establishments are making regarding these devices. This is fine, we can make an informed decision where we chose to take our business. However, insulting a customer publicly because you had a disagreement, calling them “ignorant” is not how you help carry your head high in a public argument.

  48. simenn
    April 19, 2014

    I dont mind about the vapers, but man and women who have been swimming in their perfume should remain outside the bars 😀

  49. richard
    May 19, 2014

    I’m sorry if I cause offence but i’m afraid you are very wrong with the comment about passive smoking, contrary to all the rubbish that has been flung around, no one has every died from the effects of passive smoking, having said that I don’t believe you should smoke around people that don’t..and on the same hand, as a smoker and a vaper..the fact i’m forced out side in all weathers to enjoy my habit, why would someone come out to sit on a bench near me and start moaning about my smoking or vaping…well i usually reply in a nice way of cause, you forced me outside in all now it’s nice, tuff..sit back inside where it’s smoke or vape free.
    as for vaping in pubs..having vaped for about two years, i always ask what the policy is regarding using my mod, if it’s not allowed i just go outside, if it is, i simply make sure i’m not blowing great clouds into peoples faces.

    after all basic manners never went amiss any where.

  50. James Stewart
    April 6, 2015

    I think alcohol should be banned from the pub -its bad for your health and can have a detrimental effect on family life. We should ban cars because of CO2 effects. Preservatives should be banned in food, bad for you bad bad bad. Sex before marriage – bad lets ban it..

  51. Neil Melling
    June 3, 2015

    I’ve got to say what a riveting discussion. I’ve just switched to vaping due to the obvious health risks but I admit I enjoy smoking. I was asked not to ‘vape’ in the “man at arms” in Bitteswell in Leicestershire this weekend. I completely understand it’s their policy so like most other vaporists I kindly put away my device without even batting an eyelid. Until this moment, nobody else around me even noticed as I was rather discreet, it was only because I was spotted by a member of the bar staff. I completely agree with previous comments regarding pubs available to smokers. I can’t say I enjoy stinkin ‘o fags however but that would be MY choice.
    Part of the reason I’ve switched to vaping is to become more ‘socially acceptable’ however my problem is this….more and more landlords/ladies seem to have a problem with people being more ‘socially acceptable’. If someone wants to drink 5 pints and potentially do harm to themselves, you as a landlord/lady provide that service and if anyone wants to consume potentially damaging substances such as whisky and beer they won’t really be too bothered about a little ‘mist’. I could understand a landlord having a negative policy on the subject if the pub was called Harrods….
    As so far as being socially acceptable however, following me and my wife out to the car park because my wife had a noticeable ‘absence’ due to her epilepsy(not a full seizure I might add) , shame on you King Henry Taverns, I’ll certainly be voting with my feet.
    If landlords/ladies wish to keep our treasured pubs alive, they should remember it’s a service not a gastapo style health observation so why alienate your customers….. (shrug)

Leave a Reply