Fake cigarette was no laughing matter for Highlight Comedy Club bosses

THAT SMOKE ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE Jane Stanswood with the electronic cigarette, and inset, the Highlight Comedy Club at Gunwharf Quays
THAT SMOKE ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE Jane Stanswood with the electronic cigarette, and inset, the Highlight Comedy Club at Gunwharf Quays
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JANE Stanswood thought she was the butt of a joke when she was not allowed into a comedy club.

But it was no laughing matter when she tried to get back into the Highlight Comedy Club, in Gunwharf Quays, after popping out for a cigarette.

THAT SMOKE ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE Jane Stanswood with the electronic cigarette, and below, the Highlight Comedy Club at Gunwharf Quays

THAT SMOKE ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE Jane Stanswood with the electronic cigarette, and below, the Highlight Comedy Club at Gunwharf Quays

She went outside after security spotted her puffing on a fake cigarette inside the venue. She says she was told that staff believed she had been smoking inside.

Jane, from Roman Grove, Portchester, was out with husband David, 40, and six friends to watch Fosters Comedy Live, last Saturday.

But the night turned sour after security spotted Jane using the cigarette at the table.

When the 44-year-old realised she was being watched, she darted outside for a real smoke to calm down.

At that point security took Jane aside and told her she had to leave.

She said: ‘I was absolutely shocked. They refused to let me back in, I wasn’t even allowed to get my handbag, which my husband had to bring it out. They told me I had been smoking inside, which I denied. It was obviously a pretend cigarette.’

Jane recently purchased the replica cigarette – called an e-cig – from the internet.

The battery-operated device emits water vapour and doesn’t contain tobacco or tar.

It is legal in public places and is designed to help people kick the habit.

Jane, an eyelash technician, said: ‘I’m trying to give up. I used to smoke 40 a day.

‘I was wearing a nicotine patch that night as well.

‘All I wanted to do was go out and have a bit of fun. I also got told off for heckling the comedians, which was ridiculous.’

Mark Cooper of Highlights Comedy Club, said: ‘It’s difficult for customers and staff to distinguish between what is or isn’t actual cigarette smoke. To avoid any confusion, we have taken the decision to keep all our venues across the country totally smoke-free.

‘Although the lady in question had been smoking an electronic cigarette, she was actually asked to leave for excessive noise and talking during the night’s stand-up performance.’