Vaping in the workplace has been hotly disputed over the years with many employers still failing to adopt a positive approach towards e-cigarettes. This is despite the abundance of research from the government and recognised health organisations, backing vaping as a safer alternative to smoking.
Last week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (APPGV) called for employers to allow vaping at work and provide designated vaping areas for them to do so. The MPs argue that positive workplace vaping policies would not only encourage smokers to switch to vaping but would also help to correct the misperceptions which surround vaping.
Sarah Jakes, Chair of New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) shared the views of the parliamentary group as she said:
“More liberal workplace policies can have the dual benefit of correcting these misperceptions while also providing a more encouraging environment for vapers to prevent relapse, as well as for smokers considering vaping instead.”
A major point, often raised with regards to vaping, is the importance of creating a clear distinction between smoking and vaping, particularly in terms of policy. Director of Policy for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Hazel Cheeseman said:
“Public health organisations like ASH and PHE have long said that we need clear policies that distinguish between vaping and smoking.
“When organisations treat them the same, without being clear that e-cigarettes are a much less harmful alternative, it fuels public misunderstanding and makes it less likely that smokers will switch and protect their health.
“Whether people choose to allow vaping inside the workplace will depend on individual circumstances.
“But what is crucial is that employees understand that vaping is not as harmful as smoking and any restrictions are not about health but about courtesy in the working environment.”
Mark Pawsey MP, APPGV chairman raised the point that even in parliamentary buildings there is confusion surrounding the relative safety of vaping compared with smoking. He said,
“Indeed, this lack of understanding was very evident in Parliament itself, a place many will look to for an example.
“There are only two designated vaping locations, and despite being a member for eight years, I still have no idea where either of these locations are.”
It’s evident that many workplaces are still naïve towards vaping and this guidance should come from the government. Smokers spend a large proportion of their life at work, making the workplace a great opportunity to help them quit. However, positive backing is needed by the employers which should stem from education from the government on best practices and policies.