Network Rail has long upheld a ban on e-cigs, and many rail franchises have already followed suit specifically outlining the train station ban on their websites
Alessandro Sorrentino/James Chapple | July 7th, 2016
While the 2007 smoking ban outlawed lighting up traditional tobacco products in public places, there is no such legislation concerning e-cigs.
But Network Rail, which manages a number of the UK’s largest railway stations, has long upheld a ban on e-cigs.
The company might have no jurisdiction over local stations, but it appears many rail franchises have followed suit.
And they specifically outline the ban on their websites.
Both South West Trains and the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise, which operates Southern Rail and Gatwick Express services, say e-cigs are not permitted on their trains or at their stations.
The 2007 smoking ban outlawed lighting up traditional tobacco products in public places
Other operators in Surrey, including First Great Western, have also formally banned e-cigs, reports Get Surrey.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail and train operators, said: “It can be difficult to know the difference between real and e-cigarettes, which can cause confusion and be unpleasant for passengers.”
Network Rail said it was a “unilateral decision” to introduce the ban.
Southern Rail actually introduced its ban almost a year ago when GTR brought both it and Gatwick Express services in line with the rest of the franchise.
South West Trains, meanwhile, simply states: “The use of e-cigarettes is not permitted on South West Trains services or at stations.
But with no legal backing, Southern acknowledged the ban was not “enforceable by law” and anyone defying it would simply be “politely asked to stop”.
“We believe there will be an element of peer-policing too, just like when passengers see feet on seats – we’re sure some will intervene and point out it’s not pleasant for others,” added the operator.
Transport for London banned smoking across its entire network in August 2014.
The public health charity, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said that given what were understood to be the less harmful effects of e-cigs, it did not support a blanket ban in enclosed public spaces.