SMOKING electronic cigarettes in taxis in the Ribble Valley could be banned under plans to be discussed next week.

The borough council’s licensing committee will consider the proposal after the council received a query from a taxi driver over whether the existing smoking ban included electronic cigarettes.

The council’s current conditions for taxi drivers state that they must ‘not smoke in the vehicle or permit any passenger to smoke in the vehicle’.

Smoking is defined in the 2006 Health Act as ‘smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco’ and being ‘in possession of lit tobacco’.

The statutory definition of smoking does not include electronic cigarettes and other forms of vapour producing smoking devices.

Councillors will decide on Tuesday whether to amend the standard conditions to include electronic cigarettes.

The plans have been welcomed by taxi firms in the borough.

Sajjad Asghar, owner of Clitheroe Taxis, said; “I think it’s a perfect idea.

“If you are a driver it’s hard to tell if someone is smoking a real or e-cigarettes in the back of the cab.

“It’s a hard thing to judge and it can be a source of tension and conflict.

“If this is approved, it would be a positive move and would help a lot of cab drivers out.”

Bob Kay, owner of Clitheroe-based Hi Life Travel, said: “I’ve not had personnel experience of people smoking e-cigarettes in my car before because I ban them all already.

“If somebody used one I would always ask them to stop for the sake of my next customer.

“This plan could reflect what many cab firms are already doing.”

A borough council spokeswoman said: “We received a query from a taxi driver asking if the smoking ban included e-cigarettes.

“The report will go in front of the committee next week for an in principal decision.”