Smoke-Free Steering: 9 in 10 Brits say they don’t vape and drive, survey finds.

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While vaping isn’t an illegal action in the UK, including behind the wheel of a car, drivers who are distracted by smoke released by e-cigarettes may be prosecuted for lacking in caution whilst driving. Vapes can produce thick clouds if the user chooses, which may produce visual impairment for a driver if, for example, the windows in the car are closed. Not many people know that you can be slapped with a hefty fine if you choose to exhale big, opaque clouds that impair your vision in the car. Police can also deduct three penalty points – or up to 9 in serious cases, as well as a court-imposed driving ban. Distracted driving is a leading cause of road accidents across the UK and it’s important to limit any secondary activities while driving to zero. Although vaping doesn’t require much effort, driving requires 100% of an individual’s attention and focus, therefore, it’s not recommended that drivers try change a vape flavour behind the wheel, for example. 

GoSmokeFree.co.uk surveyed 800 people across the UK to determine their opinions on vaping and driving. Reassuringly and interestingly, 9 in 10 (89%) people who vape said they don’t vape and drive, which drastically reduces the number of distracted drivers on the road in the UK. And considering more than half (58%) of people said they know at least one person who vapes, this equates to a significant number of people who are practicing safe driving! For the 1 in 10 (11%) who admit they do vape while driving, it’s important for them to remember the rules and regulations about distracted driving in order to minimize the risk of any potential incidents that could occur. 

Although Hollywood sometimes romanticizes the idea of smoking in a car – think James Dean circa the 1950s – it might not be as cool of a habit as one might think… In fact, a majority (87%) of respondents said they don’t consider tobacco smokers to be ‘cool’ by any means. This might also have to do with the ‘cool’ points deducted when considering the health implications of smoking cigarettes… 

The laws for smoking cigarettes in an enclosed vehicle don’t outlaw this action, unless a young person under the age of 18 is present as a passenger. Aside from adding toxins to the air in an enclosed space, smoking cigarettes in the car is an additional opportunity for smokers to flick their butts onto the ground. The argument may be – where else am I meant to put it out? In fact, nearly half (48%) of people who either currently smoke cigarettes, or used to smoke them, admit they’ve thrown their butt on the ground. 

 

Drivers can be fined hefty amounts if they are caught smoking cigarettes in a vehicle with children as passengers. However, nearly half (40%) of respondents said they don’t believe anti-smoking laws are tough enough and that they should be more strictly enforced. This could be due to the negative impact on people’s health that smoking has – not only to the individual smoker, but to those around them. 

Smoking can cause a host of illnesses and diseases, as well as exacerbate existing conditions like asthma – particularly in children and babies. Given the additional healthcare that needs to be allocated to smoking-related issues, it’s perhaps unsurprising that more than half (56%) of people said they think smoking should be made illegal due to the heavy burden that it places on the NHS. Because smoking is a preventable cause of illness, it’s also perhaps no surprise that 56% of people also said they think people who smoke cigarettes should pay elevated tax amounts due to the increased volume of additional effort, time, resources, equipment, supplies and medication that smoking requires from the NHS.

And in fact, more than half (59%) of respondents also said they weren’t aware that the cost of smoking to the UK government is around £12.6 billion each year. This constitutes things like additional healthcare dedicated specifically to cigarette smoking-related issues; social support for communities; addiction treatment for those who need it and of course, money spent on cleaning up the thousands of cigarette butts littered around the UK every day.

Useful Links

https://www.gosmokefree.co.uk/

https://www.gosmokefree.co.uk/disposable-vapes/