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London: New e-cigarette lounge opens at Heathrow Airport

November 28, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
  • Customers at the Gamucci Electronic Cigarette Zone that opened Monday at Heathrow Airport in London.
Customers at the Gamucci Electronic Cigarette Zone that opened Monday… (Gamucci )

Call it an "e-smoking lounge" or a "vaping zone," but whatever you call it, it opened this week in Terminal 4 at London's Heathrow Airport.

Electronic cigarette manufacturer Gamucci hosts the indoor area — off limits to anyone younger than 18 — as well as a store that allows travelers to sample and buy products too.

Electronic cigarettes are "non-tobacco containing, non-combustible cigarettes which work by vaporizing nicotine liquid," according to consumer market research company Euromonitor International. Euromonitor put 2011 sales at $2 billion worldwide, noting the U.S. represents the biggest market, followed by Russia and Germany.

London-based Gamucci is hoping to woo some of the 9.8-million passengers who come through the terminal each year.

"We are frequent travelers and identify with the frustrations of smokers when they are through security," company co-founders Taz and Umer Sheikh said in a statement about the lounge.

"Our vaping zone offers a comfortable and relaxing environment in which to satisfy their cravings."

For travelers, the devices fall into a gray area when it comes to where you can "light up." The U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, says it bans e-cigarettes on U.S. and foreign carriers. And this media report gives an airline-by-airline no-smoking response.

At least one cruise line takes a more mellow approach. Princess Cruises, which also has designated tobacco smoking areas on its ships, allows electronic cigarettes everywhere except for dining areas and the theater.

But it also adds this caveat: "However, should a fellow passenger in the vicinity feel inconvenienced and complain, even after being told the difference between electronic cigarettes and real cigarettes, we will ask the passenger to refrain from smoking the electronic cigarette."

Back to Heathrow. The Electronic Cigarette Zone is open 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily in the terminal's International Departure Lounge.
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