TWO smokers are fuming after being told that electronic cigarettes are banned from two town centre pubs.
Luc Guerian was stunned to discover that he would have to stand outside to smoke his e-cigarette if he went into Wetherspoon-owned Lloyds Bar, in Church Square, Hartlepool, or The King Johns Tavern, off Victoria Road.
The 31-year-old, who uses the electronic aid to help him smoke less traditional cigarettes, said he cannot understand why the pub chain has made the “puzzling” stance.
And chef John Hawksworth, 53, who used the device to help him kick his 40-year smoking habit, said he could not understand it either.
Luc told the Mail: “I go out in Hartlepool and in most of the places I’ve been, such as The Tall Ships, in Bishop Cuthbert, or The Staincliffe, in Seaton Carew, you can smoke them.
“I’ve never encountered anywhere that has any issues with you smoking electronic cigarettes indoors. I’m quite surprised with Wetherspoon, I can’t understand it. They are odourless and they don’t harm anyone.
“I could possibly understand a pub not wanting people smoking electronic cigarettes in the daytime in a family establishment because they might not want children seeing these things, but certainly in adult places I can’t see the problem.”
The banking account manager, from Castle Eden, who is trying to reduce his 10-a-day habit with the e-cigs, added: “I do think that if I was asked to leave somewhere for smoking an electronic cigarette which doesn’t cause anyone any harm, I wouldn’t be going back.”
And chef John, a dad-of-three, from Saltaire Terrace, in Greatham, Hartlepool, said: “When people smoked real cigarettes you could smell it on clothes and obviously other people were breathing in your smoke, but these have no aroma, no smell, and they’re not going to harm anyone else.
“I just cannot see the reason why you would ban these, there’s just no need for it.
“I had a pub myself once and if somebody came in smoking one of them I wouldn’t be bothered in the slightest.
“There is a blue light on the electronic cigarette so you could tell the difference between an electronic one and a real cigarette which obviously lights up orange when it’s lit.”
But Eddie Gershon, spokesman for the JD Wetherspoon chain, said the company would not budge from its stance.
He said: “Wetherspoon has a strict policy across all of its 870 pubs in the UK that we do not allow electronic cigarettes in our pubs.
“The simple reason is that our pubs get extremely busy at all times throughout the day, including the King Johns Tavern and Lloyds in Hartlepool, and it’s very difficult for members of staff to differentiate between a real cigarette and an electronic cigarette in a busy pub.
“We understand the frustration, however, the policy is one that was introduced by the company in order to assist its staff.”
He added: “We also appreciate that a lot of people do use these cigarettes, but we made this policy a number of years ago and its one which we will not deviate from.”
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