Vaping and e-cigarettes (short for electronic cigarette)—the thing to do to beat the Irish smoking ban? In case you never heard about “vaping,” it is the high-tech alternative to smoking; it’s battery powered and uses a water vapor to inhale the nicotine. And it has become immensely popular in Ireland due to the Irish smoking ban and, in no small part, due to a legal definition that left loopholes.
So the question is …are you allowed to vape where you are not allowed to smoke?
Vaping and the Irish Law
When Ireland enacted a law that banned smoking in public places, the legislators wanted to be precise. Too precise, as it turned out. What worked in traffic (where “holding a mobile phone” is an offense, not “using a mobile phone”) did not work in pubs, bars, and so on because the law forbids smoking tobacco.
See what they did there? The precise definition technically excluded herbal cigarettes (which became popular overnight, mostly with people wanting to make “a stand”) and what is known as e-cigarettes, electronic devices that do not produce smoke. No smoke, no smoking.
We now have “vaping.” Heat, water, and nicotine (plus assorted flavorings) are combined in the e-cigarette, giving the non-smoker-but-vaper the opportunity to suck vapor instead of smoke into his lungs, then exhale the same again.
This technical solution to satisfy the craving for nicotine is not covered by the Irish smoking ban, hence it cannot be illegal.
Vaping and the Environment
Now, in effect, vaping looks very much like smoking minus the ash and the butts. From a distance, you simply can’t decide whether somebody is smoking or vaping.
The difference between a cloud of smoke and a cloud of steam around you? Well, we’ll have to take a closer look and sniff.
As soon as you get nearer, you’ll notice that vapor, unlike smoke, does not linger. That is simple physics. When you are smoking, minute particles of ash are released into the air and they settle as a fine dust over time, never totally disappearing. In the case of vaping, what you are producing is actually steam, a mixture of very fine liquid particles and air. And those liquid particles will dissipate quickly, mainly due to temperature changes.
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