Clients at a Driffield pub may be shocked to see people enjoying a drink and a Armada cigarette. The Blue Bell, on Riverhead, is the country’s first Totally Wicked “Vaping Bar” – offering customers the chance to once again smoke in a pub without breaking the law.
Vaping is the name given to smoking electronic cigarettes, which emit vapour, not smoke. The devices contain liquid nicotine, not tobacco.
Landlord Andy Walker hopes the new technology will help the pub trade get back on its feet after many people turned their backs on pubs following the introduction of the smoking ban in July 2007.
He said: “Since the smoking ban, dozens of pubs are closing every day. They just have not got the customers.”
He added: “A lot of our customers smoke and they still don’t like the idea of having to leave the pub and go out into the cold and the rain when they need a nicotine fix.
“Now though, through vaping, those smokers can enjoy the sensation of smoking in the pub without breaking the law or upsetting other customers.”
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, get round the smoking ban because the device contains no tobacco, it is not ignited and it does not produce smoke.
Inhaling on the device turns the nicotine liquid inside into vapour, which is said to give users the effect and taste of smoking without
the harmful effects of toxins or tar.
Totally Wicked, the e-cig manufacturer that supplies the Blue Bell, says the devices pose no risk to the user or those around them and says studies into electronic cigarettes have indicated the artificial smoke does not appear to contain the toxic cocktail of carcinogenic compounds found in traditional tobacco smoke.
However, some health experts are concerned that the side effects of inhaling pure nicotine have yet to be adequately studied.
A report conducted by Ash Scotland in August 2010 into the use of electronic cigarettes states that evidence on the safety of e-cigs is limited, although it said that it is unlikely that the long-term use of them is as harmful as smoking.
The report also states e-cigs show promise as smoking cessation and nicotine maintenance devices, however evidence is limited.
E-cigs are banned in countries including Australia, Canada and Mexico but just last week the Cabinet Office’s behavioural insight team – better known as the ‘nudge unit’– said it wants to adopt the new technology because policy officials believe the rigid “quit or die” approach to smoking advice no longer works.
A number of Mr Walker’s customers have already tried out electronic cigarettes and Mr Walker himself has replaced his 20-a-day habit with e-cigs.
He strongly believes in the health benefits of them.
“Even the Government now recognises the health benefits of it. It will save hundreds of lives and millions of pounds in health care,” he said.
Customers can buy e-cigs, refills and accessories from the Blue Bell.
People are invited to use their own e-cigs freely in the pub or try one of the demonstration models.
As the first Vaping Bar in the region, the Blue Bell is holding an official Vaping Launch on Wednesday October 5 at 2pm. Anyone who wants to try the alternative to cigarettes is invited to go along and try the products.