Vaping e-cigarettes

Vaping at work

Vaping is seen as the acceptable face of smoking, but should employers sanction it at work?
Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars or herbal cigarettes in indoor work places has been banned since 1 July 2007, but e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco, so the law treats them the same way as nicotine patches, gums etc. Individual organisations can ban their use in the workplace if they wish, the same as banning alcohol, hot drinks or eating in the workplace.
It is generally accepted that e-cigarettes are up to 95% less dangerous than smoking, but employers should consider the arguments for and against allowing vaping in the workplace. The British Medical Journal (2013) states that “e-cigarettes might renormalise smoking, promote experimentation among young people who otherwise may not have tried smoking…. and thereby deter some smokers from stopping.” Whereas Cancer Research UK view e-cigarettes as “almost certainly far safer” than traditional cigarettes.
Companies need to decide on their vaping policy and either allow vaping, or provide a separate area for vaping, which can be fully enclosed, unlike a smoking area.  They should also review their electrical policy to ensure that the rules for staff bringing in any electrical items, including e-cigarette chargers, are clear and enforced.

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