Many people wonder if it is legal to smoke e-cigarettes inside public buildings or offices and even more people are confused about secondhand smoking issues with electronic cigarettes.
First, there are significant differences between an e-cigarette and a conventional tobacco one. The electronic cigarette is not lit by fire. There is no smoldering or burning of any substance. Instead, the electronic cigarette contains liquid nicotine encased in a plastic filter combined with a micro-heating element. When you inhale or 'puff' on this alternative cigarette, the heating element warms the nicotine in the filter to produce a stream of vapor. This is inhaled and exhaled in the same way as a traditional cigarette. To enhance the experience and sensation of smoking, the vapor is flavoured to replicate the taste of either a tobacco or menthol cigarette. The e-cigarette is designed to simulate smoking a real cigarette and should not be confused with a regular nicotine inhaler.
There is no tar, carbon monoxide, tobacco or secondhand smoke with the e-cigarette. Also, there is no physical smoke or passive smoke. A non-lingering vapor is emitted, similar to steam from a boiling kettle. This vapor or steam is virtually odorless and vanishes within seconds.
The UK smoking ban does not apply to the use of e-cigarettes. The electronic cigarette can 'legally' be used inside any public place including leisure and hospitality establishments, places or work, offices and shops.
The e-cigarette is usually purchased as part of a kit. These kits include a rechargeable cigarette battery, the e-cigarette, a charger and nicotine cartridges.
It is estimated that 1 in 10 smokers in the UK will switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes by 2012.