Vaping At Work: Do’s, Don’ts And The Law 23rd July 2015 – Posted in: News – Tags: e-cigarettes, work, workplace
Ever since e-cigarettes burst onto the market, there has been a lot of controversy over their use in public places. Many believe that as a form of smoking, they should not be allowed in enclosed public spaces, much the same as tobacco products. While others say that they are not harmful, and when introduced into environments like the workplace in the right way, they can actually have a positive effect.
What The Law Says
Smoking in public has always been a concern to a lot of people, and the introduction of electronic cigarettes has muddied the waters in some people’s views. However, the UK law on the public use of electronic cigarettes is actually very clear – they are allowed in public and enclosed areas as long as the property owners and managers do not object. This is a very wide area, and means that people vaping have more freedom to use their product of choice than those smoking conventional cigarettes. For example, e-cigarette users can vape:
· In pubs and bars
· In restaurants
· On the streets in public
· In taxis and work vehicles
This is mainly because e-cigarettes are not classed as cigarettes under the 2007 nationwide smoking ban, because the ban only deals with tobacco based, combustible products. As e-cigarettes contain neither tobacco nor any combustible substance, they are completely exempt form this law.
Employers And E-Cigarettes
The good news for all of you vapers is that e-cigarettes are perfectly legal to use at work. This means that the 100+ hours of work that smokers lose by taking regular cigarette breaks are now being used to achieve more in the workplace. Being able to vape at their workstations (and not having to brave hailstorms and rain for a cigarette) can lead to a happier, more productive workforce. This goes for the vapers and their non-vaping colleagues. Some studies have suggested that co-workers of those who vape at work arte actually more content with this system as well – they harbour less resentment for the long breaks they take every hour, and they no longer feel like vaping co workers aren’t pulling their weight at work.
However, not everyone is so accommodating of this idea. Many workplaces are looking to ban e-cigarettes indoors in addition to traditional cigarettes, rather than welcoming them with open arms. This is primarily due to the concerns over the health and wellbeing of everyone in the office environment. A spokesman from ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) states that ‘compared with smoking, using an electronic cigarette is safer. However, in the absence of a thorough clinical evaluation and long term population level surveillance, absolute safety of such products cannot be guaranteed.’ In other words, while e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco ones, there is still not enough data to determine if the vapour is completely harmless. Some studies suggest that there are different toxins in e-cigarette vapour to tobacco smoke, which could end up being harmful in the long term.
In most cases, we think that employers should be clear about the rules they set regarding smoking and e-cigarettes in the workplace, and stick to that policy. If you need help devising an e-cigarette policy for your workplace, click here for more information. As with any personal habit you might bring into the workplace, it’s always advisable not to flaunt it to other co-workers, and instead deal with it in a respectable and professional manner. If e-cigarettes are a problem, or if you believe you should be able to use them in your office, speak to your employer about their e-cigarettes policy, and see how you can work together to improve your environment using it.