Anti-smoking groups are confused by the decision Network Rail has made to ban e-cig devices from train stations, despite vaping being perfectly legal.

Network Rail confirmed their stance on e-cigs by banning vaping products at Birmingham New Street and more major stations this week.

This is a surprise as it is legal to use an e-cig in a public space, unlike regular cigarettes.

Public health charity Action on Smoking and Health has responded by correctly pointing out that e-cigs are much less harmful than regular cigarettes, and also reaffirmed its stance that it did not support a blanket ban on vaping in public spaces.

A study has found that there is no such thing as “second-hand vaping” like there is with smoking, and it doesn’t harm bystanders.

Moreover, leading health body Royal College of Physicians recommended giving e-cigs to smoking hoping to quit.

Forest, a smoking rights group, described the ban as “an overration” and “a bit petty”.

It should be pointed out that the ban does not necessarily apply to local stations, which are placed under the control of the rail operators. Thus, you should check with a member of staff at your local station before using.

“It can be difficult to know the difference between real and e-cigarettes, which can cause confusion and be unpleasant for passengers,” said Rail Delivery Group, a body which represents Network Rail and other train operators.

Birmingham Mail reached out to Network Rail, but they declined the chance to make a comment.

The e-cigarette ban at UK train stations is confusing, particularly as a Midlands hospital actually allows e-cigs on their grounds.