You may remember the dingy, small smoking rooms that could be found in most office buildings and airports up until 2007. But could there be a future for vaping rooms? We explore the laws and possibilities surrounding the idea and whether we should implement them.
Is it legal?
From 1st July 2007, a legislation was introduced that means it’s now illegal to smoke cigarettes in all public enclosed areas including workplaces, pubs and stations. This forced employers to close their smoking rooms and send staff members outside to take their smoke breaks in designated areas as well as adhering to various other laws. These laws are not to be taken lightly- employers can face a fine of up to a massive £2500 if they do not follow the laws correctly!
But do the same rules apply to e-cigarettes? Apparently not. According to Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), ‘E-cigarettes fall outside the scope of smoke free legislation as the act of smoking requires a substance to be burnt, so employers can choose whether to allow employees to smoke them at work or not.’. This could be a huge step forward for small businesses as it means that vapers can remain within the building to vape, providing it is agreed by everyone and there are proper rules surrounding it.
Public concerns of e-cigarettes
One of the main reasons for the smoking ban was due to the concerns about passive smoking. In a study published by Gov.uk, Public Health England stated, ‘There is no published scientific evidence of harm to bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour and the available evidence indicates that any risk of harm is extremely low, especially when compared with tobacco smoke.’. This supports the idea that vaping in public is actually not something to be concerned about with regards to passive smoking. They also went on to say ‘electronic cigarette use in an enclosed space exposes others to nicotine at levels about one tenth generated by a cigarette, but little else. The health risks of passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapour are therefore likely to be extremely low’.
With statements like this coming from a leading health organisation, it’s a great starting point to propose the idea of vaping rooms in workplaces. But what about having them in public spaces like transport stations and airports? A study by Dr Leonie S Brose from King’s College London found that in 2014, 45% of people thought that people should be allowed to use e-cigarettes in places where smoking is not allowed. With less than half of the representatives saying they supported the use of e-cigs in public, it may be very difficult to implement any sort of smoking room in public areas other than workplaces.
Benefits of vaping rooms
Aside from meaning you don’t have to go outside to vape, what other benefits could you gain from having a vaping room in the workplace?
- It’s more sociable- you might meet new people in the office that you’ve never spoken to before
- It keeps the vapour contained- rather than vaping in the open office or corridors, it allows vapers to have a space where they can vape happily indoors without disrupting non-users.
- It’s more productive- you can stay within a contained area in the office meaning you don’t miss out on anything important.
What are your thoughts on vaping rooms? Have your say in the comments!