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What are the smoking rules at airports?

20. february 2023

If you regularly consume nicotine by smoking or vaping, the thought of catching a flight can be a daunting one.

In fact, more than six in 10 nicotine users* admit they feel anxious about not being able to smoke or vape once they get through airport security, according to a VELO** study.

If you have questions about smoking at the airport, we’re here to make things clear. Read on for all you need to know, from local and international rules to smoking area provision at various UK airports, not to mention nicotine alternatives like VELO pouches.

Can you smoke cigarettes at airports?

No, you cannot smoke within airports in the UK. As with all public buildings, businesses, workplaces or transport facilities in Britain, cigarette smoking is banned indoors and in enclosed spaces. Depending on the airport, you may find smoking is restricted even in outdoor areas such as drop-off zones and transport interchanges. However, some terminals do provide designated open-air smoking areas, which may or may be before or after you’ve made your way through security (or both).

Can you vape at airports?

No, you cannot vape inside UK airports. However, if the terminal does have a designated smoking area, you will be able to go there to vape. Vaping may also be restricted even in some open-air spaces around the airport, such as drop-off areas and transport interchanges.

Another thing to note is that vapes must always be brought with you in your hand luggage and never stowed in hold baggage. They must be charged to take through security and placed in a clear plastic bag alongside other products that contain liquids.

To add to matters, there are some countries and territories where the importing of vapes is illegal. Always check the local laws and customs before bringing a vape device on your travels with you.

Can you use nicotine pouches at airports?

Yes, you can use nicotine pouches at UK airports. Some people who consume nicotine via smoking or vaping choose to switch to pouches whenever they’re travelling. You can even use nicotine pouches while on your flight, as they’re smokeless***.

What are nicotine pouches?

Nicotine pouches are small parcels containing nicotine at various strength levels. They’re designed to tuck away between the gum and lip where they’ll gradually release nicotine for your body to consume for up to half an hour, after which they should be disposed of. Pouches like ours use high quality, pharmaceutical-grade nicotine polymer that contains no tobacco, as well as plant-based materials to bulk the product out and flavourings that consumers enjoy. There’s no smoke given off or any lingering odours, so you can use nicotine pouches just about anywhere***.


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UK airports with no smoking areas

Smoking and vaping is banned inside UK airports and there’s no requirement for terminals to provide designated smoking areas. That being said, some do so. You can find more information below on which airports you cannot smoke in.

Can you smoke at Heathrow Airport?

No, smoking areas are not provided in Heathrow Airport’s departure zones. The only place you can smoke or vape at Heathrow is within a designated area outside of each terminal building.

Can you smoke at Gatwick Airport?

No, smoking areas are not available at Gatwick Airport once you’ve passed security. The only place you can smoke or vape is at a designated, clearly marked area outside each of the two terminals.

Can you smoke at Birmingham Airport?

No, there are no smoking areas once you pass security at Birmingham Airport. The only place you can smoke at Birmingham Airport is within marked zones outside the front of the terminal.

Can you smoke at Luton Airport?

No, airside smoking areas are not provided at Luton Airport. The only place you’ll be permitted to smoke and vape is within a designated sheltered zone outside departures, in front of the terminal building.

Can you smoke at Stanstead Airport?

No, you cannot smoke once you pass security at Stanstead Airport. The only place that smoking and vaping is allowed is at one of several designated areas located outside the terminal building’s entrance.

Smoking areas at international airports

That’s smoking at UK airports cleared up, but what happens when you get to the other side? Local laws and customs when it comes to smoking and vaping are varied and complex, so it’s always worth researching the situation in your destination country before setting off on your travels.

We’ve pulled together an interactive map below to help you get a handle on things. If you’re a nicotine user looking for flight tips – especially whether you can smoke while travelling and where any airport smoking rooms might be – this tool is for you. Use the map to check in on some of the world’s biggest and busiest airports to see what facilities your destination offers. It’s also helpful for users of vape products, as it clarifies whether there’s any difference between the rules and in the provisions for smoking and vaping.

Why nicotine pouches are the best smoking alternative

Nicotine pouches are a great alternative to smoking, and not just because you can use them in airport terminals and on flights. With no smoke, ash or odours given off***, pouches are among the most unobtrusive ways of consuming nicotine and can be enjoyed in all sorts of places where cigarettes and vapes can’t. You simply place the product between your gum and lip as you continue to go about your day, then dispose of the pouch responsibly after a maximum 30 minutes.

Read our dedicated guide for more tips on flying with nicotine pouches, or start browsing our VELO product range for a flavour and nicotine strength that suits you.

*Research of 1,000 nicotine users aged 20 plus who've been using nicotine for six months or more carried out from 14 to 19 October 2022 through OnePoll.

**18+ only. This product contains nicotine and is addictive. For adult nicotine or tobacco consumers only.

***This product is not risk-free and contains nicotine, an addictive substance.

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*18+ only. This product contains nicotine and is addictive. For adult nicotine or tobacco consumers only.

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