The UK Police force has issued a warning to drivers notifying them that they could face a substantial fine and punishments for vaping/using an e-cigarette while behind the wheel of their car.
Police officers have advised motorists about the dangers of vaping while driving and explained the heavy punishments of being caught could entail.
Vaping while driving is not illegal in the UK in itself but motorists could face prosecution for driving without due care and attention, as it has been judged to be distracting.
Punishments for driving without due care and attention range from a fine of up to £2,500, three to nine penalty points and even disqualification from driving.
Sergeant Carl Knapp of the Sussex Road Policing Unit stated: “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.”
He added: “If you are going to vape I advise that you open your windows and blow the vapour directly out, just ensure that you are in full control of your vehicle before doing so.”
“Vaping while driving increases your risk of crashing, causing visual disruption and physical and mental distraction”.
Although this seems like conflicting advice, the police state that any person who is distracted in any way could be guilty of an offence – whether that be smoking, vaping or eating.
Police officers can issue drivers a fine or punishment at their discretion.
This warning follows the revelation of figures that suggest around three million people in the UK use e-cigarettes, with a vast majority of them while driving.
It has also been suggested that vaping has the same potential dangers as sun glare on a driver.
A spokeswoman for Brake the UK Charity for road safety said: “Vaping while driving increases your risk of crashing, causing visual disruption and physical and mental distraction”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport added: “We believe that drivers should always follow the rules set out by the highway code and must always exercise proper control of their vehicle and avoid any distractions, including vaping.”
It seems that the message is clear – Don’t vape and drive.