To vape or not to vape? Well that appears to be the question when it comes to the workplace anyway, and a big debate for those with a love for e-cigarettes. As they fall outside the scope of smoke-free legislation, it’s completely up to employers in the UK as to whether their employees can vape freely at their desks or whether they should embrace the long walk to a vaping-friendly zone. But what are the reasons for and against vaping in the workplace, and how do these arguments fare against one another?
As with the majority of legislation which affects what you can and cannot do in the workplace, the main concerning vaping freely at work is safety. For vapers in the know, the answer is obviously yes, but, as e-cigarettes are a relatively new product, there is some speculation of how vaping regulations may play out in the long term. This could make employers wary of permitting their staff to vape at work.
E-cigarettes are only composed of three ingredients with the optional addition of nicotine, all of which have been researched extensively, with that research concluding that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than cigarettes. There have also not been any adverse effects documented by those who have experienced second-hand vapour ‘and the available evidence indicates that any risk of harm is extremely low, especially when compared with tobacco smoke.’
No one size fits all
When it comes to answering this question, the industry and employer you work for will have a massive impact on your ability to vape at work.
Sat at a desk all day in an admin role? You stand a much higher chance of being able to vape in work than a nursery teacher does.
If you work with children, in high-risk areas, or in a kitchen, it is unlikely that you will be able to vape in your place of work and will instead likely have to do this in a specially-designated area – most likely outside of your work premises.
Considering every employee
Your employer could be the biggest e-cigarette fan you know, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to take the concerns and comfort of all of their employees into account. Vaping at your desk could be the safest thing in the world but if it makes people feel uncomfortable then this is something that has to be reviewed. This also means taking people’s health concerns into account, too.
On the other hand, e-cigarettes can be very useful for those trying to swap away from smoking. This is important for any employer who wishes to have healthier employees.
The official verdict
This year, Public Health England released advice for employees in this case so that they can make the most informed decision possible. It looks at a range of different considerations for employers to review but its eventual conclusion is that the decision should be made by the employer once these factors have been evaluated.
Whatever decision your employer makes when it comes to vaping in the workplace, there’s a whole host of reasons why they’ve made the decision that they have. Taking a look at the pamphlet from Public Health England is a good place to start if you’re an employer trying to make up your mind.
What’s the vaping situation in your place of work? Let us know in the comments below!