The ‘E-Cigarette’ and Smoking Bans

In 2007 the UK imposed a smoking ban on all indoor spaces regardless of use. Pub goers and bingo players were displeased with the ban and many pubs and bingo halls reported a decline in business. Enter the e-cigarette.

The ‘e-cigarette’ is am alternative to smoked tobacco products. It is a battery powered device that delivers inhaled doses of nicotine and feels and tastes similar to smoking a real cigarette. The e cigarette produces no smoke and no combustion actually takes place. Nevertheless pensioner Helen Skinner was asked to leave the Rio Bingo in Canvey Island.

The manager approached Mrs. Skinner and told her to take the e cigarette outside despite the fact that there was no actual smoking going on. Mrs. Skinner took offense and contacted the local newspaper. It would seem the manager was willing to cut off her nose to spite her face. Since the smoking ban many UK bingo clubs have seen a drastic drop in attendance and the e cigarette may be a way to lure smokers back to bingo halls.

E-cigarettes are legal to use in public spaces and it has been suggested that bingo halls should not only allow their use but should stock them in an attempt to attract smokers back to bingo halls. The manager of the bingo hall reports that the action was the result of customer complaints and cites the difficulty of monitoring customer behavior. Some e cigarette users report similar difficulties at restaurants and pubs.

Inveterate smokers have probably either given up bingo entirely or have switched to internet bingo games. Die hard smokers can play their favorite game online and puff away while doing so. Actually internet bingo offer a wider variety of games and larger jackpots than most brick and mortar bingo operations. As for the e-cigarette ‘smokers’ it will be interesting to see how this issue will be resolved.