COPS have warned drivers they could be prosecuted for vaping behind the wheel.
Motorists using e-cigarettes could be fined thousands of pounds and face losing their licence if they obscure their vision with clouds of vapour.
Vaping while driving is not in itself illegal, but drivers who are distracted by e-cigarettes could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.
Sergeant Carl Knapp of the Sussex Road Policing Unit previously said: “The smoke caused by vapes are a distraction and the consequences of them can be dire, all it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash and even worse, a fatality.
“I strongly advise people to pay 100 per cent attention to the roads when driving as anything that takes that attention away has the potential of severe consequences.
“If you are going to vape I advise that you open your windows and blow the vapour directly out, just ensure that you are in full control of your vehicle before doing so.”
Those found not in full and proper control of their vehicle at all times could rack up to nine points on their licence and incur a £2,500 fine.
Officers have said that vaping – which causes excessive amounts of smoke that can momentarily blind drivers – could result in fatal crashes.
The initial warning in February last year followed figures revealing over 3million people in the UK now use e-cigarettes, many of them while driving.
Sergeant John Davis of Surrey Police echoed this comment, adding: “Any person who is distracted in any way could be guilty of an offence – whether that be smoking, vaping or eating.
“With regards a scenario where someone could potentially be either distracted or have reduced visibility then there is potential for a crash.”
The great clouds of smoke that can be caused by vaping could cause a similar visual impairment to sun glare, therefore possibly resulting in similarly fatal incidents.
Brake – the road safety charity that works with communities and organisations across the UK to try and prevent the tragedy of road deaths and injuries – have spoken out about the use of vapes.
A spokeswoman for Brake said: “Vaping while driving increases your risk of crashing, causing visual disruption and physical and mental distraction.
“Attempting any type of activity that takes your eyes off the road increases your chances of causing a crash, and killing or seriously injuring someone.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport added: “We believe that drivers should always follow the rules set out by the highway code and must always exercise proper control of their vehicle and avoid any distractions, including vaping.”