London Heathrow Opens First E-Cig Zone
Back in September, Daily Diamond covered the benefits of electronic cigarettes compared to tobacco products and nicotine patches. E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular, and as if to prove this point, Heathrow Airport in London and e-cigarette brand Gamucci are to open the world’s first ever “vaping zone”, where e-smokers will be able to ‘light up’ indoors.
No airports in the UK allow smoking inside their buildings, so smokers need to take a wander outside, usually to a designated area, to smoke a cigarette. Airports around the world vary in their approach to smoking, with some providing smoking rooms or cabins, or allowing smoking on the terrace while others don’t allow smoking anywhere on the premises.
Heathrow Airport’s website, which is yet to be updated with information about the impending vaping zone, says that smoking is not allowed inside terminals, to follow the UK’s restrictions on smoking in enclosed spaces, so smokers are only allowed to smoke is a designated area outside the terminal. E-cigarettes are regarded the same as tobacco cigarettes, so e-smokers have to ‘smoke’ outside, as well.
E-cigarettes have become popular in recent years because of the restrictions the UK placed on where people are allowed to smoke. Electronic cigarettes allow the user to feel as if they are smoking while giving them a hit through nicotine vapours that look like smoke when they are exhaled. However, e-cigs don’t contain any of the other nasty chemicals, including cyanide, that can be found in tobacco products, deeming them a much safer alternative.
The restrictions were introduced in July 2007, and meant that cigarettes could not be smoked in enclosed spaces, generally a building or structure that has three or more walls and a roof. Staff smoking rooms and indoor smoking areas are no longer available for smokers. Obviously, with the potential of getting cold and wet in pursuit of a cigarette, many smokers decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and kicked the habit. Others resorted to different measures, such as e-cigarettes, which are allowed to be smoked indoors in most places.
With the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, Heathrow and Gamucci decided that e-smokers would benefit from an indoor area, to get their nicotine hit as e-cigs have yet to be proven to be harmful to anyone. According to Nielsen, a market research company, Gamucci is the fastest growing brand of electronic cigarette in the UK.
The vaping zone, launched in November is about 30sqm (98sqft) and located in the international departure lounge at Terminal 4. The zone is open from 5am until 10.30pm, and only people over 18 can enter, in accordance to the UK age restriction on tobacco products. Gamucci e-cigarettes are available to buy in the zone, and is the only indoor area in Heathrow where using an e-cig will be accepted.
It’s possible that the changes that Heathrow and Gamucci are putting into effect will encourage lots of frequent flyers to leave their tobacco products at home in favour of carrying an e-cig instead. This could in turn lead to these people completely replacing cigarettes with their electronic counterpart, giving them a chance of kicking the habit altogether. Heathrow and Gamucci could be at the very centre of a smoking revolution.