On October 1, 2015, UK drivers caught vaping or smoking while driving with minors will now be threatened with legal action. A similar ban has already occurred in Wales, and Scotland is currently considering a ban as well. Those caught skirting the law will receive a ticket and a £50 fine. But things could have been much worse.
According to an article posted in November of 2014 on DailyMail.co.uk, the original draft of the legislation contained much more severe financial penalties. Hidden deep within the fine print of the original document, violators would automatically be fined the £50 but could also be slapped with an additional penalty for failing to prevent someone in the car from vaping or smoking. Unless they were able to prove that “reasonable steps” were taken to prevent someone in the car from lighting up, then the total fines could have soared to £10,000 or higher.
Luckily, the law was rewritten before being passed by the British Parliament. According to the Gov.UK website, the regulations are still very strict but not as excessive as originally proposed in 2014. . The law applies to all private vehicles that are “enclosed wholly or partly by a roof.” Even drivers who are seen vaping next to an open window are at risk of being pulled over. An open sunroof or moonroof is also considered partly enclosed. The only vehicles that seem to escape this new legislation are convertibles driven with the top down or any vehicle that is not transporting youngsters under the age of 18. Work vehicles are already covered under existing smoke-free legislation.
Another loophole exists for drivers under the age of 18 who are driving alone and vaping. Since the new legislation is geared towards protecting minors from the dangers of second-hand smoke, a 17-year old driving alone and vaping would not be breaking the law. However, the minor may still very likely be pulled over by the police. And the retailer or adult who purchased or sold the tobacco or electronic cigarettes to the teenager would also receive a similar £50 fine.
Why is vaping being lumped together with tobacco cigarettes for such drastic legislation? Part of the blame seems to stem from the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies. As far back as February of 2014, Dame Davies has been hitting the BBC News shows with some rather “creative” evidence that suggests vaping is bad for your health. In the below interview, Dame Davies even goes so far as to say that the butterscotch flavorings found in some e-juices leads to chronic lung disease. Even though no scientific evidence is offered by Davies, her opinions and theories on the subject of vaping seem to be a driving force behind this new legislation.
(Courtesy of YouTube/Neil240)