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Anger at ban on fake cigarettes at Nottingham Oddfellows club, Leicester

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A working men's club has called time on patrons using fake cigarettes inside the premises.

The committee of Nottingham Oddfellows club, in Humberstone Gate, Leicester, outlawed e-cigarettes – a legal smoking substitute which dispenses nicotine but no smoke.

They feared people seeing the vapour from the e-cigs might encourage smokers to light up.

But the ban has angered regular Ken Keatley, who has turned his back on the club.

He was told to stop "smoking" his e-cigarette by a committee member on Saturday.

Retired electrician Ken, 67, who has been playing cards with friends in the club each Saturday for about two years, condemned the ban.

Mr Keatley, who lives in Beaumont Leys, said: "It is ridiculous. I have been using the e-cigs in the club since I gave up smoking in April.

"I was in the games room on Saturday afternoon with about six other people when a committee member told me about the ban.

"I could not believe it. No one could confuse what I am using with a real cigarette.

"I get a shot of nicotine but there are no fumes or smell.

"However, if I went outside where the smokers are, I would have to put up with a fog of cigarette smoke.

"I am not prepared to do that. I gave up the habit after smoking a pack a day. I don't want to breathe other people's smoke.

"So me and my friends will be going elsewhere.

"We used to go there every Saturday afternoon. That will mean the club will lose potentially thousands of pounds of takings over the year."

John Heggs, assistant secretary of the club, said the committee took a vote to ban the e-cigs two weeks ago.

He said: "We fully accept that it is legal to use them indoors.

"But for us it was a matter of policing the club to ensure members were not encouraged to light up the real thing after seeing people use them.

"We took advice and that is why we decided to ban them. It was not a personal decision.

"We just did not want to risk breaking the law and facing a hefty fine."

The club's move follows a similar ban imposed in May by The Last Plantagenet, a Wetherspoon's pub in Granby Street, Leicester, when 71-year-old, Sean Gray was told to go outside to use his e-cig.

A spokesman for the company at the time said many of the fakes looked a lot like real cigarettes and this was causing problems for staff determining whether they were real or not.

Anger at ban on fake cigarettes at Nottingham Oddfellows club,  Leicester


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