A RESTAURANT in the centre of Harrogate is letting customers smoke inside – but says it won’t be breaking the law.
Bed, in Kings Road, is offering the chance for customers to use electronic cigarettes, which only produce water vapour, in its second-floor dining room.
The scheme is the idea of restaurant owner Dave Burns, who said using the alternative cigarettes has helped him break a 28-year habit.
He said: “I feel better. I don’t wake up in the morning feeling like I’m 80 rather than 43 – I genuinely feel healthier.
“You are still addicted to nicotine but you haven’t get all the carcinogens and other things in there.”
As a convert to the cigarettes, which work by heating up water to create a nicotine vapour which the user inhales, Dave is allowing customers to use them in one room of his restaurant to see if the idea is popular.
But with the ban on smoking in enclosed public places having been introduced more than four years ago, he said it could take a while to get used to the sight of people smoking in a restaurant again.
“It’s still a bit taboo,” said Dave. “It looks bizarre that people look like they are smoking even though they aren’t.
“But all they expel is water vapour which disperses into nothing. There’s no smell and nothing else.”
And for anyone who wants to try the electronic cigarettes – known as “vaping” rather than smoking – Dave is selling the Totally Wicked brand at the restaurant.
The devices can be refilled and recharged using a mains socket or USB and Dave expects they will catch on in the UK as well as they have in the United States.
“Most people who have bought them are like me and are old enough and mature enough to realise that although they enjoy cigarettes, they aren’t good for you.”
Dave is holding his first vaping night on Wednesday, September 7, in the top dining room, which will become a weekly event if it is popular enough.
The rest of the restaurant will be open as normal for other customers.
lThe Department of Health has however said it is not aware of any evidence about the long term safety of e-cigarettes and as such, would suggest that consumers exercise caution.