Electronic cigarette maker Gamucci is set to open the world’s first airport ‘vaping zone’ for e-cigarette users at London’s Heathrow airport later this month, according to reports by Reuters and Bloomberg.
In a statement on the airport’s website, Heathrow claims to be a smoke-free airport, in line with the British law on smoking in enclosed public spaces. Smoking is permitted in designated areas outside the terminal building. So far, electronic cigarettes have been subject to exactly the same restrictions as standard cigarettes and hence could not be used inside any of the terminal buildings.
However with the rising use of the smoke-free devices, a new indoor zone measuring 30 square meters will open in the international departure lounge at Terminal 4 on November 25. Entry will be restricted to those aged 18 and over, Gamucci said. The company is the fastest-growing electronic cigarette brand in the UK, it said, citing research by Neilsen.
While the airport will now provide a vaping zone for e-cigarettes, and though they can be carried in person by passengers, passengers will have to check with their respective airline whether they are allowed on board the aircraft.
Driven in part due to the restrictions on smoking, sales of e-cigarettes have boomed in recent years. The battery-driven devices allow users to inhale nicotine-laced vapor and are seen as a less harmful alternative to smoking.
According to the report by Reuters, governments are currently looking at ways to best regulate the use of e-cigarettes. In June, Britain decided to regulate them as medicines from 2016; however, last month European parliamentarians rejected the idea of doing the same across the European Union.
Frankfurt airport has built a special facility for travellers wishing to smoke.
The airport will soon open its first fully ventilated smoking lounge, to cater to the needs of about 12 million smokers who pass through the airport each year. Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Dubai International Airport have developed the facility, with the construction following a similar initiative by JTI in Dubai Airport.
JTI has also launched similar lounges in Munich, Zurich, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva airports.
While launching the services, David Francis, general manager, Worldwide Duty Free vice president at JTI, said, ‘The Smoking Lounge concept was created in 2003 as we were looking for a solution to accommodate smokers and non-smokers in the airports – a top priority for JTI. Since then, this innovative concept has been implemented in 21 airports around the world that have a combined traffic of more than 300 million passengers per year.’
The initial smoking lounges developed by JTI were just basic smoking areas. However, JTI soon improved the services for their demanding customer base and started providing upgraded cabins in 2007. Working with Frankfurt airport, JTI has launched its latest, fully enclosed and ventilated smoking lounges.
The first, new Camel-branded smoking lounge measures 65sq.m and is located in Terminal B-East. Its launch will be followed soon by nine more smoking facilities with a total area of just under 1000sqm.
Francis said, ‘Frankfurt airport serves over 55 million passengers a year of whom we can expect at least 12 million to be adult smokers. For both travellers and the airport this will be a world-class customer service facility significantly enhancing the traveller experience at the airport. The new fully ventilated lounges that we are now opening are the results of a close working relationship between us and the airport who recognised from the start that dedicated adult smoking facilities are a solution that satisfies all airport users.’