Vaping in the Workplace
Vaping can throw up lots of legal and moral choices about where and when you should use an e-cigarette, not least in the workplace.
There’s no definitive answer and peoples’ opinion on the subject varies widely as do employers’ policies and state regulation meaning that employers and employees alike often need to come up with their own policies and rules on vaping in the workplace.
, as more adults swap from conventional cigarettes to electronic devices, including those using them to support cutting back on traditional cigarettes. As an increasing number of people become vapers it’s becoming more important for how e-cigarettes are used and allowed in the workplace to be set out. Not only would it help vapers to understand when and how they can use an e-cigarette but it can help to prevent confusion between electronic devices and tobacco cigarettes for those that are not familiar with vaping.
Current federal legislation doesn’t include regulations on vaping in the workplace and state regulation can vary widely. While some states, including Tennessee and Nevada, no do currently have any bans on indoor vaping, others are more stringent, such as Alabama, where several localities have banned vaping in all enclosed workplaces. For workplaces in states or local areas that don’t specify rules on vaping while working, they fall outside of the legislation and it’s often down to the discretion of each employer to set out policies that suits its business and members of staff.
For employers weighing up the pros and cons or vaping in the workplace there can be a lot to consider. But key to ensuring that everyone understands exactly what is expected is introducing a clear, transparent policy. Whether an employer decides that vaping is fine across all areas or restricts it to certain zones, a policy means that vaping employees know where they are fine to use e-cigarettes and those that don’t vape will also understand that there is a distinction between e-cigarettes and traditional smoking, if that’s what the firm decides.
When deciding how to treat vaping, employers should think about how many people use the devices. For a portion of vapers, e-cigarettes help them to cut down on using conventional cigarettes and in some cases, result in them quitting completely. Another consideration that employers are likely to think about when setting out a vaping policy is the industry they work in. Businesses operating in the education sector, for example, are more likely to introduce tough measures as e-cigarettes are banned for minors across the whole of the US and allowing vaping around young children is likely to be frowned upon by parents.
Perception of Vaping
The public perception of vaping will also need to be managed and will vary depending on the sector. Roles that are customer facing, for instance, could be subject to more stringent rules depending on the customer demographic and how they generally view vaping. The industry will be a factor in this, customers are less likely to react negatively to a someone vaping as they conduct building work than someone who is preparing their food at a restaurant.
Even if your place of work allows you to vape while on site, including in indoor spaces, it’s important to consider what other employees expect. In an office environment, for example, some may be uncomfortable with vaping occurring next to them as they try to carry out their daily tasks. If you work outdoors, it’s likely that this will be less of an issue.
If your colleagues aren’t vapers themselves, it could be a good idea to chat to them about it to understand how they feel about e-cigarettes being used throughout the day. Even if vaping is permitted in your workplace it may be necessary to restrict it to certain areas or limit how frequently you vape if other workers don’t like the devices being used around them in order to preserve working relationships and create a workplace where everyone feel comfortable.