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Vaping and Driving - Watch Your Cloud

Vaping and Driving - Watch Your Cloud



Police are starting to crack down on people vaping while driving, citing large vapor clouds as dangerous in the fact that they could obscure a driver’s view and cause accidents. In the United Kingdom, if authorities believe you've become distracted by your own vapor cloud the penalty could include points on your license or a fine of up to $3,500 (£2,500), according to a report in the Telegraph.  

It’s not technically illegal to vape and drive, but the police in the U.K. argue that if a car's windows are closed and there’s no way for the vapor to exit the moving car, then the cloud momentarily blinds the driver and increases the risk of a collision. The question being asked by police about vaping while driving is the whether the resulting vapor affects or impairs someone’s ability to see clearly out of their windows.

This gets to the heart of one of the central questions of vaping as it becomes more and more accepted and industrialized: how much are laws that potentially concern vaping about “common sense” regulations, and how much are they an overreach specifically targeting a vaper's ability to freely vape whenever they want. In this case, however, we've got to agree that vaping is probably not the safest thing to do while driving, especially with your windows up or if you're using a dripping device.

To some, vaping in the car can be a relaxing experience, especially if you’re stuck in traffic. I’ve personally enjoyed driving down long highways with a vape in one hand and the other on the wheel. However, if you’re going to do that, you should definitely crack a window so that the vapor cloud can immediately escape.


The U.K. has been one of the most progressive countries in terms of legislation and government permissiveness with respect to vapor products. For example in 2015, the U.K.’s NHS claimed that e-cigarettes were “95 percent safer than tobacco,” that to date has been one of the most positive things that’s been said by a country’s government about vaping.

That finding has led to the country pushing for laws that support and even encourage vaping as a tool to help smokers quit. However, there are limits to any form of freedom, and they usually begin when your behavior begins to endanger someone else.

Sergeant Carl Knapp, with the Sussex Road Policing Unit, explains that "The smoke caused by vapes are a distraction and the consequences of them can be dire, all it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash and even worse, a fatality."     

"There are no laws prohibiting vaping, however, you need to be in full and proper control of your vehicle at all times,” Knapp continued.

Other officials echoed those concerns, comparing the impairment that a driver has while vaping to similar situations when someone is either eating, smoking, or has a sun glare in their face.

"Any person who is distracted in any way could be guilty of an offense - whether that be smoking, vaping or eating,” added Sergeant John Davis of the Surrey Police.

"With regards a scenario where someone could potentially be either distracted or have reduced visibility then there is potential for a crash."

The same compulsion for the state’s legal oversight over when and where someone should vape as a matter of safety are what inspires warnings of legal action against vapers who is caught on the road with a big vapor cloud in their face.