As I’ve said before, licensees are entirely within their rights to ban the use of e-cigs anywhere on their premises. But they need to think very clearly exactly what kind of message that sends out. The days when they could capriciously ban all kinds of “undesirable” behaviour are long gone, and now pubs are scratching around for every customer they can get.
Is it really going to be in their interest to impose a blanket ban on an entirely legal activity? Surely they need to either permit e-cigs throughout, or if there are concerns about them being mistaken for real fags (which obviously are illegal, if not undesirable, indoors) define separate zones where they can and cannot be used.
And, if pubs that have banned e-cigs come along bleating that they have had to close because of lack of trade, I won’t exactly have much sympathy. Pubs can’t afford to turn away trade – they need to manage it.