In the Government’s recent 5 year Tobacco Control Plan, the Department of Health have backed vaping by stating: ‘PHE recommends that e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy’.
This provides encouragement to not only pub and restaurant owners, who may now be more comfortable with e-cigarettes being used inside their premises, but also to businesses who hope to see the number of smoking breaks reduced at work. By allowing their employees to vape at their desk, companies can potentially keep productivity high and not restrict staff from getting their nicotine fix.
The Smoke Break
Smoking breaks are common place in many working environments. These smoking breaks are not a legal requirement but merely a luxury that many organisations allow in order to keep employees happy.
Rest breaks are compulsory in the work place and legislation states “Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day.” Many smokers however, require cigarettes much more frequently than this so allowing smoking breaks may seem like the only way to keep these employees content. It doesn’t keep everybody happy though…
Firstly, management will strive to keep productivity as high as possible and smoking breaks means less time spent working so a lower productivity would be expected.
Secondly, non-smoking employees may feel aggrieved that their smoker colleagues are getting more breaks than themselves for no other reason than that they are addicted to nicotine.
So, how could employees get their nicotine fix without taking additional breaks?
Vaping at work is not illegal but is forbidden by many businesses in their policies. However, will these companies reconsider their rules after the government have recommended that e-cigarettes should not be covered by smokefree legislation?
Allowing e-cigarettes is of course not feasible in all workplaces but for the majority, this initiative would not only reduce the number of smoking breaks but it would also encourage employees to switch to the healthier alternative.
While clouds of vapour in the office could be a nuisance to some with suitable guidelines and regulations, increased workplace productivity could be added to the list of benefits that vaping adds.