Heathrow Airport in London Designates a “Vaping Zone”

Electronic cigarettes are supposed to be legal for use pretty much anywhere, right? Well maybe. In recent months, the growing number of vapers has caused a lot of conflict over whether e-cigs should be allowed in public places. Various politicians and legilators have weighed in on the issue, but there is still a lot of disagreement over where e-cigs can be used. This week, the debate continues as Reuters announced that the Heathrow Airport in London is planning to designate a “vaping zone” where e-cig users can go to vape while they are waiting on their flights.

The new vaping area will open on November 25 at Terminal 4 in the international departure lounge. Only individuals age 18 and over will be allowed inside the vaping area. Popular UK e-cigarette maker Gamucci is responsible for this new vape-friendly zone that measures 30 square meters. This will be the first airport in the world to have an area where e-cig users can go to vape while they are waiting on a flight.

The vaping area will be conveniently located among many duty free stores and it will be open for vapers to visit from 5:00 AM until 10:30 PM each day. Passengers can purchase a variety of Gamucci electronic cigarette products in the area. According to independent consumer research company Nielson, Gamucci is already the fastest growing e-cig brand in the United Kingdom with products available in more than 55 countries around the world. The new vaping lounge will almost certainly increase the sales even further and give them some positive press exposure as well.

Taz and Ulmer Sheik, co-founders of Gamucci electronic cigarettes, are excited about the possibilities the new vape zone will provide for passengers. “As a London-based company, we are delighted to be launching the world’s first electronic cigarette vaping zone… Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe, with millions of passengers passing through each year from all over the world. The Gamucci Zone at Heathrow complements our positioning as a global brand…” they said in a statement.

“We are frequent travelers ourselves, and identify with the frustrations smokers endure when they are through security. We hope our vaping zone will offer an environment to satisfy their cravings. All of our products are non-combustible and allow smokers to enjoy nicotine without any of the by-products of combustible tobacco.”

An estimated 9.4 million passengers go through Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport each year so Gamucci has certainly found a captive audience for their electronic cigarettes. While the vaping zone will solve some problems for vapers stuck in the airport, it also raises some questions that we should consider. Most importantly, is it really necessary to relegate e-cig users to one small zone in an airport? With electronic cigarettes being free from tar and tobacco, why are they banned from use in the rest of the airport? After all, there is no secondhand smoke.

While it’s great to see vapers having the right to use e-cigs somewhere in the Heathrow airport, it’s also a little disconcerting to see vapers sent to a particular area to enjoy their e-cigs. In many ways, it echoes the way smokers have been treated for years.

Do you think the new vape zone is a positive move for the e-cig industry or is it going to be counterproductive in the long run?

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Author Focus: David Fitchburg
David is a 5 year vet of the e-cig scene. He started smoking in his late teens, his habit got pretty bad and the birth of his daughter really made him think that he should consider quitting tobacco. He tried everything with little success. Then in 2008 he discovered e-cigarettes, started vaping and has never looked back. Read Full Profile >