Allowing the Use of Electronic Cigarettes in the Workplace: Making the Right Decisions

Posted on 04. Feb, 2015 by in Technology Tips And Information

Electronic cigarettes are known as healthier alternatives to tobacco, and some organisations are starting to support the use amongst their staff with a policy in place, of course. If your employees want to make the switch as well, consider adopting the trend. However, you have to weigh the pros and cons to make the right decisions, which in turn can ultimately help your bottom line.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Some employees choose to vape as part of a plan to stop smoking, so you may want to support such an effort if this is the case. However, vapour from e-cigarettes might be annoying to their colleagues, so you should set rules.
  • Long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, so some of your staff members don’t support such a move.
  • Some e cig devices from Australia, the UK or the US look very similar to real cigarettes, so other people might think that tobacco smoking is allowed in your workplace. If you allow vaping, your line managers should know who the e-cig users are within their teams. Make a policy stating that line management approval is needed to use electronic cigarettes in the workplace.
  • If e-cigarettes are allowed, some employees may argue that real cigarettes should be permitted too.
  • If you disallow vaping, there may be concerns about not going through with their efforts to stop smoking. This goes especially if they’re only allowed to vape in designated areas, along with tobacco smokers. This will still expose them to second-hand smoke. Consider organising a separate smoking area outside the work premises.

Giving up smoking can be very difficult, and your employees often need your support to succeed. You can help by suggesting an internal occupational health service and similar programmes.

Having Clear Rules about Using E-Cigarettes at the Office

You should be clear about the use of electronic cigarettes at the workplace. If you already have a policy in place for smoking, drugs and alcohol, you can just include a section about e-cigs in there.

Electronic Cigarettes

Image Credit: TBEC Review, CC BY 2.0

Before introducing new rules, consult your employees’ union or elected representatives. Make sure there is clear comprehension and that they should be able to relay the message properly to other employees. You can also put up notices or signs that make it clear where vaping is allowed and prohibited.

Using e-cigs should be forbidden within your workplace premises, but you can designate certain vaping areas. Also, you must comply with the legal requirements that come with it. For smoking breaks, vapers should generally maintain the same amount of free time as their colleagues.

Furthermore, your policy has to state that unauthorised or excessive e-smoking breaks will result in disciplinary action.

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