Thursday 21 March 2013

E-Cigs Banned On P&O Ferries, Avoid

The latest company to exhibit their ill-informed ignorance over e-cigs would appear to be P&O Ferries. For the story, click to enlarge this letter produced to one of their recent travellers.

It's interesting that the author refers to the Terms and Conditions of travel (twice), because they contain no mention of e-cigs at all.

Now, I don't know about you, but 'smoking' - as I understand it - involves tobacco and, you know, smoke. 

But to reciprocate, I can see where Ms Visser is "coming from" too, as P&O Ferries can make up whatever rules they like as a private business. However, our intrepid traveller pointed out that the Terms and Conditions did not prohibit e-cigs but was told that it was "going to be in them", not that it already was. 

I'm sure you don't need me to remind you that e-cigs are not illegal, and the Health Act 2006 does not ban their use, erm, anywhere. 

On the other hand, under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, P&O Ferries do have some obligations to their travellers if they offer travel and accommodation for over 24 hours. P&O mini-cruises perform exactly that function as the cabin is booked for the duration.

Under these regulations, P&O have no right to refuse return travel if the use of e-cigs is not prohibited in their stated terms and conditions. The rules are very clear about this.
9. (1) The other party to the contract shall ensure that: 
(b) all the terms of the contract are set out in writing or such other form as is comprehensible and accessible to the consumer and are communicated to the consumer before the contract is made; and 
(c) a written copy of these terms is supplied to the consumer.
This was satisfied, as the copy of T&Cs above proves. Therefore, refusal to abide by the contract (that is, return travel) is a breach of the law and punishable by damages unless the change in terms was communicated to the consumer before travel so that they could decide if they wished to proceed or ask for a refund. That not being satisfied, P&O were obliged to supply an alternative return carrier at their own expense.

So the cruisers were breaking no law, but P&O were. Interesting, huh?

Of course, these particular vapers - including a disabled passenger who was being ordered to the smoking areas on the outer decks with the rest - could have had this argument with the On Board Services Manager, but she would have probably looked blankly at them while her brain screamed "does not compute!".

Neanderthal companies like this will one day be brought knuckle-dragging and braying into the 21st century but, for now, it might be best for the one million UK vapers to consider P&O's ignorant and unenlightened attitude, and simply not use them.

H/T Mr W's 'first mate'


Chris Woods said...

I think I would be inclined to call their bluff. If refused the pre-booked package home walk around to the small claims court and sue them.

Ivan D said...

P&O is a very poor company with poor prospects. This out of date attitude is no surprise. They do not deserve any favours so will go bust at some point as a result of pointless nastiness like this.

Steve Wintersgill said...

They evidently don't want my custom, so they won't get it.
Small minded fools.

JonathanBagley said...

Ridiculous, but they won't know if you use them in the cabins.

nisakiman said...

True. I haven't tested the theory yet, but I'm guessing that even on flights where they ban e-cigs, it wouldn't be difficult to smoke one without anybody being aware, and I'm guessing also that they won't set off the smoke alarm in the loos, nor leave behind any olfactory evidence that the next person in would be alerted to.

JonathanBagley said...

Yes, anyone with a definitive answer on smoke alarms? I'm guessing not but useful to know for sure.

Smoking Hot said...

Most smokers smoke in the cabins. They even have a room dedicated to it but P&O call it the bathroom l hear. Another way is a shower cap over the smoke sensor as it works on optical technology. P&0 Board must have been infiltrated by competitors because everything the board does is detrimental to PO. Their CEO Helen Deeble couldn't run a park boating lake, let alone a ferry company. Only reason she's still there is they have no shareholders.

The Meissen Bison said...

Alie Visser writes that she understands where Mr W is coming from. I'd hope that where he's going to also holds no surprise for her or the rest of the crew.

JonathanBagley said...

Have emailed P&O customer services, as a recent covert to ecigs, drawing their attention to this blog post, Dick.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

See, that's my idea of fun. :)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

"I'm guessing that even on flights where they ban e-cigs, it wouldn't be difficult to smoke one"

Yep, been there, done that.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'd be surprised if the vapour even reached the smoke alarm before dissipating. It doesn't last longer than a couple of seconds.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

There goes the neighbourhood. ;)

Junican said...

I've just read up on how smoke alarms work.

Very briefly, The gummage in the alarm ionizes oxygen and nitrogen atoms by knocking electrons off the atoms. The negatively charged electrons are drawn to a positively charged plate, while the positively charged remainder of the atoms are drawn to a negatively charged plate. Thus, there is an electric current. When smoke particles enter the alarm, they attract the free electrons, and thus interrupt the electric current. That sets off the alarm.
So all you have to do is to stop smoke particles entering the alarm as SH says!

Zaphod said...

The cabins have a sign, "Please shower with the door closed, to avoid setting off the fire detector." (This is the clue that there is no "fire detector" in the shower to detect smoking.)

But would water vapour from the shower set it off, as suggested? If so, it's not the usual type of smoke detector. And why does our kettle never set it off?

Maybe it's just a heat detector, but then why the shower notice?

Perhaps it is just detecting heat, and the shower notice is a deliberate clue that smoking is okay in the shower/toilet, where there is an extractor.

The extractor nozzle has a disc which can be easily screwed out to increase the flow. Leave the shower and cabin doors open for 15mins before going ashore, and give it a squirt of air freshener. I always get away with it.

Getting back to the point, prohibiting e-cigs is spiteful. It should always be vigorously challenged, even if resistance seems futile.

Rage against the dying of the light!

Mason Connor said...

Sad news for electronic cigarette users, in my opinion imposing bans on these devices is totally ridiculous.

lora p said...

What I'm curious about is that I'm using no nicotine E-cigs. It is flavored with vanilla but contains no nicotine whatsoever. It helps with the figiting act. So what are the rules for this?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

There's only one rule, denormalising smokers. It doesn't matter that they may be harming health as it's never been about health anyway.

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