We all know what a devastating effect the smoking ban had on the pub trade but in recent years, vaping has become increasingly popular. So, is it time to welcome the puffers back in from the cold?

There are no laws prohibiting vaping in pubs and it's down to the discretion of the individual owner. Whether a publican chooses to allow vaping is up to them.

Many pub chains have banned vaping inside. Wetherspoon and Fuller's both took this decision, reasoning that their staff spent a great deal of time checking whether people were smoking or vaping but not everyone feels that way.

Ryder Gilronan is landlord of The White Horse in Chilham, Kent. He says: "If it's not hugely intrusive to people and there's some consideration for people around them, then I don't have a problem with it. I think it's quite atmospheric.

"I'm more reticent when people have got the really strong flavoured stuff. We haven't had any complaints whatsoever from people. Since the vapes have taken on a character of their own and they are designed so they don't look like cigarettes, people are more accepting of them.

"I think everybody knows what's what. People understand it's not damaging to anybody else around them. As long as there aren't great clouds of smoke, people are happy with it. I've been a landlord for 23 years. When the smoking ban came in, pubs lost a bit of atmosphere. A bit of mist in the air is like the old days."

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Terry Johnson runs The Robin Hood in Tring, Hertfordshire. He says: "We allow vaping in the pub but not the ones with big billows of smoke. We allow discreet vaping that doesn't give out too much smoke, because it's supposedly perfectly safe.

"If it was a really smoky one I would tell people to go outside. It's more about other people's comfort. I am all about choice. If they want to vape why should I take that choice off them? It's more about giving other people an enjoyable experience. These people that want to vape, they want an enjoyable experience too."

According to Public Health England, vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking, research has shown that there is no harm to bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour and the risk to health is extremely low.

Meanwhile, The All Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (APPGV) was set up by MPs who want people to be able to vape indoors in places like offices, hospitals and pubs.

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Supporting the smoke-free

Paul Rimmer is UK sales manager at firm Hangsen International, which produces liquids for e-cigarettes. He says: "It would be great if people could vape inside without having to go outside next to all the smokers. It's something I am very passionate about. I also want to help pubs gain income. I have always been a believer that we can be smoke free."

Paul believes there is a lack of educations around vaping.

"I have spoken to pubs that have got my product and people have commented on it and said they won't go in there again. But there's no health risk whatsoever from passive vaping," he says.

"The landlord's main concern is his customers. He wants to keep his customers happy and make sure that everybody is comfortable.We want people to be vaping considerately. If they have got the right product in the pub, there's no danger to anybody from passive vaping. We don't want people leaving these big clouds of smoke.

"Certain people take preference to a pub that allows considerate vaping over one that bans it. So pubs could be losing out on customers. More and more people will be accepting vaping. I think it will increase footfall, without a doubt."

Pubs are being encouraged to display signs to make it clear that they are vape friendly. Paul says people need to be supportive to those trying to quit the habit.

"Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do in the world," he says. "People don't want to switch to a vaping device to then go and be punished. They are being ostracised for trying to live a healthier lifestyle. We are putting them into the same category as smokers. We can't treat them the same way, it's not fair."