Vaping is not traditional smoking, and as such, it doesn’t suffer from quite the same restrictions as traditional tobacco-puffing. However, the rules can be confusing, as government restrictions are confined to certain areas, restrictions often change and in public places (like bars and cafes) it’s up to the proprietors.
So where can and can’t you vape? And what is the status of vaping at this time?
Here’s a quick rundown of where you can and can’t enjoy e-smoking right now in Ireland, separated into categories of increasing strictness.
Where vaping in Ireland is allowed
Vaping cafes are increasing in popularity on Ireland’s East and West Coasts (Dublin, Bray and Cork) and midlands locations including Carlow, as well as north of the border. There are also a handful of Hookah cafes in Dublin, where vaping is also allowed.
You can vape on the beach, walking the streets and in parks. Also, naturally, it’s permitted in smoking areas of cafes, restaurants and bars, which post-smoking ban, are plentiful and often sheltered from the elements. Some of these eating and drinking establishments also allow vaping indoors.
Where vaping in Ireland sometimes allowed
Vaping is not covered by the Irish smoking ban, which specifically bans the smoking of tobacco products in the workplace (workplaces, of course, including bars, hotels and restaurants). Officially so, there is no law against it, but managers set the rules and can allow/disallow vaping as they please. When booking a hotel, it might be worthwhile asking what their vaping policy.
There was a bill passed in The Oireachtas in January this year calling for a vaping ban in all public indoor areas. But many bills come to nothing, and even successful bills can take months and even years to gain traction. So far nothing has come of it.
Vaping rules in individual stores and shopping centres vary and are decided upon by the individual establishment. Blanchardstown Shopping Centre in Dublin, for instance, has banned it from the whole mall and its shops, but many other shops and shopping centres still permit it.
Transport-wise it’s mostly forbidden (see below), with the exception of some taxis and chauffeur services (it’s up to the driver or managing company).
Where vaping in Ireland is never allowed
Apart from in some cars, public transport is a sector where e-smoking is almost entirely forbidden in Ireland. Iarnród Eireann, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann have banned vaping completely from their vehicles, as have Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
Last year, Ireland’s HSE banned vaping from its buildings and properties. That means that you can’t e-smoke in any public health service facilities, which includes hospitals, primary care facilities and their administrative buildings.
When in doubt, always ask
Both in Ireland and abroad, the rules and regulations for e-smoking are confusing and are in constant flux. Depending on where you see it, the “no smoking” sign may or may not include e-smoking.
You may or may not be able to convince someone that vaping is not smoking, but when it doubt, it’s always polite to ask before vaping.