ELECTRONIC cigarettes are to be banned in and around Commonwealth Games venues in Scotland, it has been revealed.
Last year, the Glasgow 2014 organisers said smoking would not be allowed in the vicinity of sites hosting sporting events. They have now decided that e-cigarettes will also be banned.
The last year has seen a rise in the use of e-cigarettes and other devices which mimic smoking without releasing the toxic smoke of traditional cigarettes.
The battery-powered products use a heating element that vaporises a liquid solution, normally containing nicotine, and sometimes flavourings. Many look like cigarettes due to the vapour that is emitted, leading health campaigners to claim they continue to normalise smoking to children.
Paul Zealey, Glasgow 2014’s head of engagement and legacy, said: “Last year, we announced our intention to support the Scottish Government’s public health messaging around smoking cessation and that the Commonwealth Games would be smoke-free, with smoking prohibited at all competition venues and tobacco products not for sale at venues.
“We were asked about e-cigarettes and said we would consult with public health authorities. What we are now confirming, after taking advice from those agencies, and also for the avoidance of doubt, is that e-cigarettes and other smoking simulators will not be allowed to be used at competition venues.”
Mr Zealey said the products would not be confiscated if people were carrying them, but they would not be allowed to use them in the venues or within their defined perimeters.
“The ultimate sanction would be for them to be asked to leave the venue, but hopefully it would not come to that,” he said.
The decision was backed by campaign group Action on Smoking and Health Scotland. Chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “The Commonwealth Games will showcase excellence and aim to build a healthy legacy for the next generation.
“Providing smoke-free environments during events will help deliver on that commitment, and the decision to exclude e-cigarette use should make enforcement more straightforward and also help put the appearance of smoking cigarettes out of fashion.”
Public health minister Michael Matheson said: “I welcome this, as e-cigarettes are not regulated, nor have they been proven to be safe and effective.”
The Glasgow decision follows bans by other firms and organisations, including ScotRail, Starbucks and Wetherspoons pubs.
But Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said: “If the organisers don’t want people to smoke in and around venues, I can’t understand why they would ban e-cigarettes.
“E-cigs help remove the temptation to smoke, so they should be welcomed, not prohibited.
“There is no evidence e-cigs are harmful to consumers or anyone around them. Nicotine is a drug like caffeine. Are they going to ban coffee as well?
“The London Olympic Games had designated smoking areas. Glasgow should do the same, or allow e-cigarettes.”