Electronic Cigarettes In The Workplace
Electronic Cigarettes In The Workplace
Electronic cigarettes have been making a pretty big splash in the UK, especially where the legal system is concerned. While smoking in many enclosed and public places is now actually prohibited by law in the UK, electronic cigarettes do not fall under the realm of this ban.
Since they do not create fire, do not contain tobacco, and do not produce real smoke, they are technically exempt from most rules regarding smoking. Of course, this has already caused a great deal of confusion, and it has had employers scrambling to figure out exactly what to do when making decisions about E-cigs in the workplace.
Of course, E-cigs are known far and wide as a safer, healthier alternative to tobacco. As if right now, they cannot technically be called a nicotine replacement therapy, but that rarely stops people from thinking of them as such. More and more people are turning to E-cigs than ever before to replace their tobacco-use habit, and are finding that E-cigs are not only safer, but that they are also less expensive.
But despite how much healthier they seem to be, there is still a big discussion about them going on in the UK, especially when it comes to figuring out just how much freedom should be allowed concerning their usage. And while electronic cigarettes are not covered under the smoking ban in the UK, employers do have a right to make rules regarding the use of the devices while employees are on the clock and on the premises.
With so many people now switching over to electronic cigarettes, there are many companies now scrambling to update their smoking policies to make rules regarding the devices. Of course, E-cigs are legal virtually everywhere, so if companies don’t make their own policies regarding their usage, there is no reason for why employees cannot use them in the workplace.
Some opponents of E-cig usage in the workspace advocate that using them could send a bad message about smoking to young people, and that vaping could contribute to a more ‘normalized’ attitude toward tobacco use. Some also argue that the habit itself could be distracting.
Even though the electronic cigarette is not producing real smoke, some may argue that it looks enough like smoke to be confusing, and that it could trigger false alarms with management. These could slow down operations, cause workplace-related miscommunication, and hinder overall productivity in general.
Of course, on the other side, there has not really been any decisive evidence published to support the fact that vaping is harmful to other people. The vapour is odorless, and some would argue that it is a stretch to say that it might be bothersome, unless people were working so closely together that being breathed on by their co-workers was already an issue in itself.
Still, vapers can probably expect to see at least a few rules change in their workplace regarding E-cigs… especially if such changes have not already taken place. Will every company place the same limitations on E-cigs that are already placed on cigarettes? This remains to be seen, though some undoubtedly will. This will have to be a very individual choice that every business is going to have to deal with at some point or another.
Of course, as a vaper, there are definitely some things that you can do to contribute positively to this discussion. You can be a responsible user and try to be considerate of others when vaping. You can also be respectful of company policies and be understanding when they do make rules regarding E-cig usage.
E-cigs are definitely not cigarettes, but they do still make some people nervous… so it is not surprising that some companies are playing it ‘super safe’ when it comes to choosing exactly how much leeway they will allow for the habit.