PEOPLE using electronic cigarettes have been banned from “lighting up” inside council or hospital property.
The “no smoking” policy by Bolton Council and the Royal Bolton Hospital means people will be asked to leave premises if they use e-cigarettes.
Both have confirmed they treat e-cigarettes the same as normal, tobacco cigarettes — meaning smokers have to go outside if they want their nicotine kick.
The controversial battery-powered devices do not contain tobacco, and instead use a heating element which vaporises a liquid solution which can have different flavours.
A council spokesman said they have a no-smoking policy across all council buildings, which extends to e-cigarettes.
He added: “We currently treat e-cigarettes the same as normal cigarettes and will continue to do so until there is proven and empirical evidence of the safety of these devices.”
Heather Edwards, spokesman for the Royal Bolton, confirmed it had the same policy on the guidance of public health experts.
A public health spokesman said: “While it is likely that e-cigarettes are considerably less damaging to health than smoking tobacco, they cannot currently be recommended as part of the clinical management for smoking cessation.
“This is because they are unregulated and there is insufficient evidence as to whether they are safe, effective or made to a consistent standard of quality.”
However Chris Wharton, who runs independent specialist electronic cigarette shop E-mist Vapours in Higher Market Street in Farnworth, said both the council and the hospital needed to give a better reason for a ban.
His shop has since a 40 per cent rise in business since it opened in late 2012 — and nearly all of the shop’s customers are trying to quit tobacco.
Mr Wharton said: “I don’t disagree with companies having their own rules — if people don’t want you to vape in their building that’s their prerogative and we should respect their views.
“Even though it is not illegal to vape indoors I don’t have a problem with the council’s decision not to allow e-cigarettes to be used on their property, although I would like to hear a valid reason for this decision as there has been no proof to date of any passive risk from electronic cigarette vapour to others, unlike tobacco cigarette smoke.
“E-cigarettes are not the same as tobacco cigarettes, as e-cigarettes do not burn leaves and it’s this burning process that produces damaging carcinogenic chemicals.
“There have been many independent studies and tests undertaken by scientists and professors worldwide studying the effects of nicotine dependency who have calculated that e-cigarettes are probably at least 100 times safer than normal tobacco cigarettes.
“Obviously it would be healthier for an individual not to take any nicotine into their system — although If an individual already has a nicotine dependency from smoking tobacco products, e-cigarettes are believed by many to be the safer choice of nicotine delivery compared with tobacco cigarettes.”