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There’s many different laws that surround the subject of Vaping and where you can and can’t use your E-Cigarette. Most enclosed public places won’t allow it such as pubs, clubs, shopping centres and social clubs but some do give exception to the rules at the discretion of the proprietor.
One grey area that seems to crop up a lot in conversation I have with people is what the rules and laws (if any) state regarding Vaping whilst driving your car. In this article, I’m going to take a look into the facts surrounding this topic and see if we can come to a conclusion on what exactly the rules state regarding using your E-Cigarette whilst driving. Let’s get into it!
Am I Allowed To Vape Whilst Driving?
As far as I can see, there really isn’t clear cut rulings or laws that state that you cannot use your E-Cigarette whilst driving. And from what I understand, it comes down to the discretion of the Police Officer whether or not to issue a penalty notice if they feel you are being unlawful.
What I will lean on for this part of the article is that the law states that “Anyone that appears to be distracted or impaired whilst driving will be liable for penalisation” and I guess this is where using an E-Cigarette could cause you to fall foul of this law. But how would this be possible I hear you ask? Let me explain some things that you should categorically avoid doing if you want to stay on the right side of the law when behind the wheel!
Sub-Ohm Vaping Could Land You In Hot Water
When I read about the law about being impaired whilst driving, the first thing I thought that could result in this would be using a Sub Ohm vape device whilst you’re driving as this could really cause some serious impairment to your driving ability as well as visibility of the road.
Sub Ohm vape kits are notorious for producing huge plumes of vape clouds due to their low resistance coils and the devices themselves normally being ran at a high wattage level. So if you’re behind the wheel and puffing away on your sub ohm kit, if you haven’t got enough ventilation in the car, your vision is going to become impaired from the clouds that will be lingering in the car and you’re then running a huge risk to not only yourself but others as well as you could end up having an accident.
Seargant Carl Knapp, a member of the Sussex Road Policing Unit gave the following quote to a tabloid newspaper when asked about this subject;
“The smoke caused by vapes are a distraction and the consequences of them can be dire, all it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash and even worse, a fatality. I strongly advise people to pay 100 per cent attention to the roads when driving as anything that takes that attention away has the potential of severe consequences“
Again, no clear indication that Vaping whilst driving is illegal, but it’s highly recommended to give the road your full attention and not have your vision impaired by anything and this will ensure you will be risk free from having an accident and harming not only yourself but other road users.
Good Ventilation is Essential!
As I mentioned, good ventilation in the car is absolutely essential to avoid your vision becoming impaired from vape cloud. If you do choose to use your sub ohm vape kit, make sure the window is down on your side, and even on the passenger side also, and aim to blow your vape cloud toward the direction of the window so it’s immediately dispersed out of the window and not lingering around.
You will also find that vapour can cling to your windscreen and create a clear “film” like texture, which over time can build up and cause your windscreen to become fogged up and this can also limit your vision. Ensure you’re always giving your windscreen a wipe down on the inside regularly to keep this from happening and building up.
I Need To Top Up My E-Liquid…Can I Do It Whilst Driving?
This is a bit of a daft question really, and I feel I shouldn’t even be answering it because of how obvious the answer is, but NO, absolutely do not try and do this whilst you’re driving. This will cause a serious distraction so your full attention will not be on the road, and also your hands won’t be on the wheel so you won’t have full control if anything untoward did happen.
If you find you need a top up whilst you’re driving, just grin and bare it and wait until you reach your destination to top up your E-Liquid levels. Or if you’re on a long drive, pull your car over in a safe place so it’s at a complete stop and top your tank/pod up, then continue on your way. Remember, you’re not only posing a risk to your own safety, but to other drivers on the road as well as pedestrians.
Is It Illegal To Smoke With a Child In The Car?
Yes, it is illegal to smoke a cigarette if you have a child in the car. Some people may not know this, but the law was passed back in 2015 that it is illegal to smoke a cigarette whilst driving a car if you have a child passenger.
This law was passed to implement the safety of children and protect them from passive smoking, due to the cigarette smoke lingering in a confined space and children may then breathe it in. And also, to ensure drivers are giving the road their full attention whilst having a child on board and not being distracted by smoking a cigarette, or trying to light it etc.
Is It Illegal To Vape With a Child In The Car?
Ah yes, another grey area that seems to crop up. I don’t have a concrete definitive answer to this, but as far as I can see, there hasn’t been any further updates or changes to the above mentioned law to include E-Cigarettes being banned from use whilst having a child passenger on board.
Second hand vapour has not been proven to be harmful to inhale by anyone, whether it be a child or adult, like what second hand cigarette smoke is. This really comes down to the discretion of the driver whether or not they want to use an E-Cigarette whilst they have a child passenger or not. If you do opt to, just ensure your ventilation is good by having windows open like I mentioned above.
How To Avoid Getting In Trouble When Vaping & Driving
To recap, I’ll go over some key pointers that you can do so that you stay on the right side of the law, and don’t run the risk of getting pulled over and having a chat with a Police Officer
Open The Window!
As mentioned, this is the most fool proof suggestion and one you should always be doing regardless of who’s in the car or what device you’re using. Keep your window open and exhale your vapour out of it, to stop it lingering around and impairing your vision of the road. And also, if you have passengers in the car, they might not want to be inhaling your sweet Raspberry smelling clouds of vapour from your E-Cig.
Fill Your Tank Before You Set Off
Ensure that your vape tank/pod is full to the brim of E-Liquid so that this will last you for your journey, or at least for the majority of it so that you don’t become tempted to try and fill it up whilst you drive with your elbows or something ludicrous.
And if you do run out mid journey, wait until you’ve come to a complete stop in a safe place to top your E-Liquid up. It might seem a smart idea to try and do it whilst you drive, but it won’t feel so smart if you write your car off!
Put Your Vape Device Somewhere Easy To Grab
Last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around the car because your vape has gone for a burton when you turn a corner. Put your device somewhere close by and convenient where you can grab it with ease so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
I put my device in my cup holder which is next to my left hand side so I can easily grab it whilst still paying attention to the road. Find somewhere suitable where you can grab it and keep it there so that it doesn’t do a magical disappearing act!
I hope this blog has helped clear up any questions or doubts you may have had regarding using your vape device whilst behind the wheel. Just be sensible and keep yourself safe as well as others on the road or passengers in your car. It’s not worth losing your no claims discount over a quick puff of your vape!