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Where Can and Can't You Vape Indoors in the UK?

January 16, 2024

Considering vaping has been around for less than two decades, the industry has already seen a barrage of new laws and regulations introduced that continue to be in flux even today. While the prohibitions on age and strength now appear somewhat set, the rules around vaping indoors in the UK need to be clarified as they can be opaque, to say the least. Let's clear up the matter once and for all.

UK Vaping Laws: Is Vaping Indoors Illegal in the UK?

On 1st July 2007, the UK government brought a blanket smoking ban across the country. This included all public spaces and workplaces but, of course, did not cover people's homes. Fast-forward sixteen years later, and many assume that vaping falls into the same bracket. 

However, that's not the case. Vaping is not prohibited under the same law, meaning it's the choice of the venue as to whether to allow vaping or not. As you might imagine, this leads to plenty of confusion, but it's important to remember that there is no blanket rule across the UK. The owner of the premises is always right.

Nowadays, it's becoming more common for locations to ask customers not to vape inside, and this needs to be respected. As with cigarettes, many people don't like being around vaping, especially those with families, and it's evident in the last few years there has been a more substantial consensus for businesses to prohibit vaping within their premises.

Vaping Rules for Different Locations

All that said, it's still a complicated situation. For clarity's sake, let's break down the current regulations for specific locations.

Public Transport 

As of January 2024, you'd be hard-pressed to find any public transportation services in the UK that allow vaping. Buses and trains across the country already prohibit vaping on their lines, which usually also goes for their stations. However, vaping outside on a train platform or bus terminal is a grey area. Sometimes, it's allowed, and sometimes not. 

Airports and planes are also a big no-no. Every airport across the country now has a vaping ban in place, while vaping on a plane can lead to a fine of just over£3000. If you try to deactivate the smoke sensors in the toilets while doing so, let's just say you won't be going on holiday as planned. 

Driving & At Home

There are currently no regulations about vaping in your home, and it's difficult to see anything like that coming at any time. Even the smoking ban doesn't prohibit people from smoking in their own homes, and attempting to do so would no doubt be seen as draconian madness. 

The same applies for vaping in your car. Feel free to do whatever you want when you're in your automobile, but there are dangers as with any other activity while in a moving vehicle. If you're involved in a traffic accident while vaping, this could likely be included as a contributing factor and listed as 'driving without due care and attention' or 'dangerous driving.' 

Depending on the seriousness of the accident, you could receive a prison sentence of up to two years and have your license revoked for 12 months. Also, consider that getting into an accident because your vision was impaired by a vape device could land you with a £2,500 fine.

Pubs, Restaurants, and Cafes

There are plenty of pubs out there that allow you to use your vape device on their premises, but increasingly, many are taking a harder line - always check with the staff beforegetting your vape out. As far as restaurants and cafes, these days, most establishments have banned vaping indoors due to complaints from other customers. This is at least understandable, as the last thing you want when you're about to tuck into a meal is a cloud hitting you in the face.

Sports Arenas

Most large sports arenas have now banned vaping from their premises - whether you're inside or outside. This includes practically every top-flight football stadium across the country. Before you think about going out of the stadium to vape and then going back in, this is also usually prohibited. 

The same goes for rugby stadiums, Wimbledon, F1 events, athletic events, and any indoor sports venues, such as darts and snooker. In short, while there might not be an official vaping ban indoors in the UK regarding sports venues, it's often best to look at it like that.

Music Venues & Cinemas

Don't even think about trying to vape in a cinema in the UK, as every single chain now has a vaping ban in place, which goes for both the cinema itself and the foyer and toilets. 

With music venues, the results are mixed. Most large-scale venues, such as the NEC in Birmingham or the O2 in London, have either complete bans or, as in the case of the O2, a partial ban covering performance spaces. However, you can generally find more leeway with smaller venues that need to get numbers through the door. In this case, asking when you go in is always best.

Public Buildings 

Hospitals in the UK usually have some degree of prohibition on vaping. Locations in Scotland have now banned them outright, even in outdoor settings, while hospitals in England will usually allow you to vape in designated areas. Other public buildings, such as libraries, schools, government buildings, and leisure facilities, will almost all share a blanket ban on vaping.


Shop owners in the UK have the right to set their own rules around vaping, and these days, most have chosen to ban their use. This situation often comes down to common sense and a degree of decency. If you're popping into your local corner shop to buy a few things, do you really need to vape for the two minutes you're inside? Probably not. Save it until you're out of the door and free to do as you like.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vaping Allowed in Restaurants UK?

While there isn't a blanket ban that prohibits vaping in restaurants in the UK, by default, most restaurants have their own regulations in place, which means you'll need to vape outside the premises, like you would have to with a traditional cigarette. 

Can You Smoke Vape Inside Pubs?

The rules around vaping in pubs are pretty straightforward - it's whatever the landlord says. There isn't a uniform ban in Britain's pubs, as with cigarettes, but we see an increasing number of publicans choosing to ban vaping from their premises. 

Final Thoughts

There have been significant changes to the perception of vaping in recent years, and with it have come tighter controls across the UK. Vaping is not automatically prohibited like traditional cigarettes, but it's becoming harder and harder to find indoor venues that allow vaping. Places like sports venues, hospitals, schools, and libraries are now complete no-goes, while pubs, cafes, and restaurants may be more lenient but are also leaning towards prohibition. 

Vaping in public indoor spaces in the UK may be harder, but it's never been easier to find top-quality vapes at great prices. RELX has a wide selection of disposable and non-disposable vapes, along with an exciting array of delicious flavours to choose from. We also have a blog that keeps up to date on the latest news and regulations in the UK, so you can ensure you're vaping legally and with the best-quality equipment.

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