It seems that the world is in constant confusion when it comes to where we can use Electronic Cigarettes. With both the public and the government unsure at how to manage this ever- increasing phenomena, we will be looking at the conundrum of vaping in the workplace.
How Vaping is Different as Smoking
Despite sharing the same name, electronic cigarettes are not covered by smoke- free legislation because they don’t produce smoke, which is hazardous to health.
Everybody knows the myriad of severe life threatening health problems that are attached to smoking traditional cigarettes, whereas, in contrast, electronic cigarettes do not possess these same problems.
In The Workplace
Electronic cigarettes have also been cited as one of the most effective ways of quitting smoking, a habit which kills over 100,000 people per year. Yet, despite this growing popularity, reports have shown that over 50% of UK businesses don’t actually have a policy on vaping in the workplace.
Any approach towards vaping in the workplace should take into account the needs and health of everybody it has the potential to affect, and considerations of risk compared to a regular cigarette.
Why Does Your Workplace Need a Policy?
With the vast majority of vapers being past cigarette smokers, it makes sense that they are likely to not want a shared smoking area, which has the potential to undermine their attempts at kicking the habit for good. This could also encourage claims that are being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Therefore, a policy for Vaping at work is in the interest of both employers and businesses, as a happy and well-motivated workforce are much more likely to contribute positively to the company.
Should there be a separate place for e-cigarettes users? The logical answer is yes, and it would be a wise idea to promote a designated area.
A designated vaping area, away from cigarette smokers and nonsmokers has been encouraged by Government organisations such as Public Health England believe it is a much more convenient option, and will also encourage regular smokers to quit.
The Public Health England released these new guidelines to encourage companies to consider their own policies on E- cigarettes.
A more radical solution could be a complete ban on all smoking devices in general, as staff members who take frequent breaks can often present a challenge to employers.
In County’s such as Nottinghamshire, there is a proposed plan to ban employees from smoking on their breaks altogether.
Furthermore, companies such as the BBC have banned both cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, which for the latter they claim is “based solely on appearance and etiquette, not health and safety”.
Scientists have described the BBC’s decision to ban e-cigarettes as “despicable.” They have been accused of completely ignoring the scientific facts and recommendations of the NHS. Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Centre in Athens suggests that “Tobacco smoking was banned in workplaces because passive smoking is a very serious health risk. Repeated studies have shown that passive inhalation of e-cigarette vapour is in no way similar to passive smoking. Any decisions should be based on scientific evidence rather than ideology or personal preference.”
Whatever your decision is regarding e-cigarettes, it is wise to offer employees with information about what support is available for employees who wish to give up smoking.