Taxi drivers in Plymouth will be able to continue using e-cigarettes in a decision which aims to encourage drivers to give up smoking.
Plymouth City Council’s Conservatives rejected the ban on e-cigarettes whilst the vehicle has no passengers onboard. The drivers are however requested to not vape when a passenger enters the taxi though.
New guidance for drivers in Plymouth says: "In order to maintain a pleasant environment for all passengers, the use of e-cigarettes or similar devices within the vehicle is prohibited while driving with a passenger."
Elsewhere around the UK, e-cigarettes are treated in similar fashion to that of tobacco cigarettes. However, changes in the law from one authority to another may leave passengers confused as to whether it’s acceptable to vape or not.
In London there is a blanket ban on all smoking. Drivers or passengers found to be smoking in a licensed private hire or taxi vehicles may be subject to a fixed penalty notice of £50, or a maximum fine of £200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: “The TfL No-Smoking Policy includes e-cigarettes and vape sticks which have been prohibited on all rail, underground and bus services. This has also been extended to include taxi and private hire services.
“It is against the law the law to smoke in virtually all enclosed public places, workplaces and public and work vehicles. This means that smoking is not allowed by anyone in a private hire vehicle (or taxi) at any time. This includes the driver, even if the vehicle is not being used for hire and reward at that time.
“Licensed private hire and taxi vehicles are also required to display no smoking signage.”
There are an estimated 3million vapers in the UK of which many are motorists. Whilst vaping and driving is not deemed illegal, many police forces have warned motorists that the clouds of vapour produced can obscure your vision which carries its own penalty.
Drivers whose vision is clouded by vapour could be liable for driving without due care and attention. The penalty for this if prosecuted can be three to nine points on your drivers licence, a fine of up to £2,500 and possible disqualification.