Despite setbacks to tourism worldwide, the United Kingdom remains a popular choice for millions of visitors every year. In fact, with the situation somewhat stabilizing, the number of tourists is on the rise again, with current projections estimating over 21 million visitors in 2022. And for a reason. The UK is a beautiful country with a very complex history and striking wonders of nature, so it’s not surprising that many want to experience it firsthand. If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely anxious to go there yourself. Bear in mind, however, that just like any other country, the UK has its own number of unwritten rules and customs that you should remember.
Most of the time, these unwritten rules are not legally required of you, meaning that you probably won’t get fined for not following them. However, as a tourist, it would be in good taste to respect the local customs and traditions.
The United Kingdom is one of the biggest vaping markets in the entire world, with over 50,000 smokers quitting tobacco products in 2017 using e-cigarettes as an alternative nicotine delivery mechanism. Such a high number is in part because of the widespread support public health in the UK gives to vaping, but also because more and more people understand that vape pens are much less harmful when compared to the dangers of traditional cigarettes.
But just because both the government and the ordinary people hold vaping in high regard, it doesn’t mean you should do as you please and take out your vape kits just wherever and whenever. Apart from the official rules and laws that you need to adhere to, you should also make sure that you follow the local customs in that regard.
Your vape pen, no matter if you brought it from abroad, bought it in a local store, or ordered it from an online business, can be used in most public places, given how there are usually no government-dictated restrictions. But bear in mind that a number of such places might have additional rules on vaping imposed by the owners or local authorities. The same applies to most workplaces. You can technically vape in an office (as it is not legally prohibited) but various companies will have differing stances on that, so always you ask first rather than commit a blunder.
Moreover, even if you’re absolutely allowed to vape in such a place, it is still a good idea to ask anyone nearby if making a cloud won’t be a bother to them. Although nicotine vapes are a far cry from traditional tobacco products when it comes to harm, they still have nicotine in the vapor.
A similar situation applies to vaping in a car. There are no restrictions on it in the UK unless there’s a minor in the vehicle riding with you, but it’s still better to ask other passengers for permission. Also, take into consideration that vaping inside of a car can be problematic if your e-cigarette produces huge clouds. That can quickly obscure visibility and get you an expensive fine if caught, so either vape with your windows down or invest in an MTL model (the vapor cloud is usually much smaller).
So to sum it up, when vaping, pay attention to any local rules and be understanding towards other people, and you should be good to go!
There are some informal rules when it comes to making small talk with the Brits. In general, you should avoid:
Conversing about financial matters with strangers is sometimes considered rude in British culture. Try to avoid it if possible, as most people there don’t feel very comfortable when discussing this subject. You may think that’s a highly individual problem, but according to a study conducted in 2020, 29 million Brits feel this way. That’s over 40% of the population!
The reasons for that are quite numerous. The biggest reason for such a reaction can be attributed to both embarrassment and a desire not to be a burden to others. Others cite upbringing, fear of money-related anxiety, and a lack of success in their lives. Whatever the cause, try to avoid this topic unless asked first about it.
Despite many harmful stereotypes propagated in the movies or games, British people are somewhat reserved when it comes to the intensity of their communication. That means you should remember to control your emotions while chatting with others – outbursts and public displays of emotions are rather scarce and often frowned upon. What’s more, try to avoid boasting too much about anything and tone down your criticisms when in public – Brits don’t like intense confrontations, and highly disrespectful comments may cause a commotion your British friends would like to avoid.
When visiting London, you’re undoubtedly going to use the so-called Tube. Once you step in, refrain from talking to others. Not only is it too loud to do that, but it’s simply considered impolite to talk there.
In this case, the reasoning is simple. It’s not comfortable to hold a discussion with others when commuters are packed like sardines and barely able to move. It’s already a violation of personal space to stand so close to others, but there’s nothing that can be done about it – it’s one of the charms of using the mass transit system. But don’t make it even worse by trying to hold small talk in such an uncomfortable environment.
Queuing has a long tradition in the UK. Initially becoming a phenomenon during the industrial revolution, it has long since become a part of daily life on the isles. It’s customary to simply take your place in a line and patiently wait for your turn. And Brits expect you to conform to this rule. Unlike some other European countries where the “first come, first served” mentality is socially acceptable and sometimes even coveted, here, such an approach will only earn you unsympathetic stares and possibly a sharp comment.
That should be enough to remember for a first trip to the UK. Bear in mind that these are only some of the unwritten rules you should be following. But don’t worry, as the natives are more than willing to help you understand new customs and traditions if you ask them about them. After all, they’re usually more than happy to show their beautiful country to curious visitors. Good luck on your UK adventure!