Motorists have been warned about using an e-cigarette while behind the wheel of their car.
Police officers have warned motorists about the dangers of vaping while driving and revealed the hefty punishments that being caught doing it could bring.
Vaping while driving is not illegal in itself but motorists could face prosecution for driving without due care and attention, as it has been deemed to be distracting.
This is due to the fact that these vape pens can create large plumes of smoke, which could cloud the vision of the driver.
It has been suggested that the smoke clouds could create momentary blindness and increase the risk of a crash.
Punishments for driving without due care and attention range from a fine of up to £2,500, three to nine penalty points and even a disqualification from driving.
Sergeant Carl Knapp of the Sussex Road Policing Unit 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.”
He added: “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.”
Police officers can issue drivers a fine or punishment at their own discretion.
This warning follows the revelation of figures that suggest around three million people in the UK use e-cigarettes, with a large majority of them while driving.
Sergeant John Davis of Surrey Police added: “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.”
It has also been suggested that vaping has the same potential dangers as sun glare on a driver.
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.”