Could E-Cig Save The Bingo Industry?

There’s been a lot of press and comment around an incident at Rio Bingo in Canvey Island where pensioner Helen Skinner was asked to leave the hall for smoking an electronic cigarette. I say smoking, but the truth of the matter is there was no actual smoking going on as the cigarette she was inhaling from contained no lit substances or tobacco fumes. The manager at the Rio, Anne Tabony asked Mrs Skinner to take her fake cigarette outside and offended her enough to make her leave the session and get in touch with the local paper.

Whilst I have some sympathies with the manager not wanting to give the impression someone was smoking in the hall, I can’t help but think her insistence the lady should leave was very short sighted. What she should have done is sat down and found out more about the E-Cig, and its Smoking Ban busting benefits. These electronic cigarettes could in fact be the answer to get the smokers back in off the street and into the hall where they spend their money rather than blocking the pavements.

As these electronic cigarettes can be used in public spaces where smoking isn’t allowed, what’s to stop the industry getting some great bulk deals and offering them as an aid to their smokers in the club? I can see it now, alongside the book and pen sales will be the E-cig counter. Big banners up everywhere, enjoy your E-cig in here, special offers for club members! Come on guys, this could be the answer to the interval problem.

Ok, maybe some of the punters would rather still go out and get stinking and the like, but given the choice and option, some might wait till home time before hitting the real thing, tided over by a hit from the fake fags. At the very least, the bad press would be avoided, and I wouldn’t be getting comments about this event for the Rio Bingo’s Club page here. I know it’s a pretty far out claim in this post’s headline, but you never know…

UPDATE There’s a commented reply about this incident from the Rio Bingo’s Group Operator, Dave Holt. It’s worth a read to get the full skinny on what was reported in the article linked above, and to it’s interesting to see the club’s side of the problem with allowing e-cigs. Dave also mentions that they have already trialled e-cigs and the results have been less than positive. It would seem my headline has been answered and e-cigs won’t be saving the industry any time soon.

3 thoughts on “Could E-Cig Save The Bingo Industry?

  1. Hi
    Rio bingo is part of a chain of bingo clubs and this happens to be a club that I operate so am very familiar with the incident and have fully investigated this matter. First of all I take issue with the headline that the lady was told to leave the club. She was simply asked not to smoke it inside and her reaction was quite pleasant and understanding she did not leave early and played the full session of bingo. Secondly the lady who complained to the press and pictured in the paper was not the lady that had the issue, it was her friend and I believe she did it to grab headlines and spark a debate which to be fair I find useful. We were at no point being difficult and if we could lose the smoking ban altogether then I for one would be pleased. We as operators are in the unfortunate position of having to police it as we commit the offence if a person is seen to be smoking. It was the surrounding customers that had complained that a lady was blatantly smoking in the club, so we quite rightly challenged her and was also caught off guard. Think about it, allowing a group of customers smoking a perfectly legal copy of a cigarette, new customers enter the hall and then think it is okay to smoke, would you then suggest we go around the session to check what substances are being smoked, don’t forget we risk breaking the laws and losing our license if a customer is caught out. We have also seen these cigarettes before and trialed them with some smokers who said they still did not substitute a real cigarette and nicotine patches were more effective.
    We have also provided a very convenient lit smoking shelter adjacent to the club for them to enjoy and most of the customers in the club were supportitive and understanding of the approach we had taken. We would still welcome debate on this matter and would urge people to think about why we had made the decision. Rio Canvey is the smallest club in our group and the manager is very in tune with her customers and on reflection and the feedback she has received so far, it has endorsed her decision. I would be interested to know if there are any other bingo clubs who actively allow these cigarettes to be smoked and how manageable they find it. I am aware that the majority of large organisations do not allow staff to smoke them at work and patients are not allowed to smoke them in hospitals. I respect the views of any bingo player or customer and I often trawl around many sites to keep myself in touch with bingo players opinions and wishes. Some players will think we made a bad decision and others will think we made a good one, you can’t always please everybody. Our company is unusual in the sense that since the smoking ban 2 clubs have made a small drop in admissions, 2 clubs have remained constant including the Rio Canvey whilst 2 other clubs in the group are now experiencing record admissions, so the smoking ban has not been a major issue for us.
    Thank you for your opinions and if ever anyone reading this pops into one of our UK clubs we will always endevour to make your experience a pleasant one.
    Dave Holt, Group operations

  2. Hi Dave, thanks for clearing up the story, and it’s good to know that you’ve already tried these. I’ve seen a lot of hyperbole on how good these e-cigs are, so it’s interesting to know you’ve trialled them and they’ve not gone down to well with smokers. So it seems my headline question has been answered, and the e-cig will not save the bingo industry.

  3. Hey guys,

    I own a GreenSmoke electronic cigarette myself. I have faced these same issues a time or two myself.

    I have chalked it up to the fact that restaurant owners being concerned that others do not understand the difference between e-cigs and regular tobacco cigarettes. They are afraid if others see e-smokers “smoking”, that others will want to “light up” as well and will cause a fuss.

    It all boils down to others having their perceptions turned into understanding about the differences between the two and why electronic cigarettes are legal to smoke anywhere, but tobacco cigarettes are not.

    E-cigs contain no toxins and produce no harmful smoke to other people around them.

    This is the issue.

    For those of you who want to learn more about how you can “smoke” and get your nic-fix through vaporizing…

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