As vaping becomes increasingly popular, it has been more scrutinised by lawmakers and citizens alike. Health and policy organisations continue to analyse the effects of vaping on the user and those around them, and the battle over what spaces vaping will be allowed in continues all over the world. Now, it has reached a new ground: the office. Because e-cigarettes are not included in the broad anti-smoking laws currently in place, it is up to companies to decide for themselves what their policies on e-cigs in the workplace will entail.
Human resources firms are beginning to suggest that office managers hurry to add vaping to their list of forbidden activities in the office, along with smoking cigarettes. Marina A. Galantro, a human resources consultant in California is recommending that “companies be proactive and amend their smoking policy now.”
Michael Wood, a senior health benefits consultant, is advising employers to “exclude e-cigarettes just like they do any other form of tobacco within their policies.”
These workplace policies could be a blow to many who have adopted e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. For an employee who is attempting to transition from the use of combustible to electronic cigarettes, is it fair to send them to the street where they will be surrounded by folks who smoke their tobacco?
Allowing e-cigarettes inside the workplace would also be a time saver. As Gary Nolan, a radio host who was once a heavy smoker and has made the switch to e-cigs points out, he probably saves ten minutes out of every hour by skipping his once frequent smoke breaks.
Despite these potential drawbacks, it looks like we will continue to see companies banning the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace. Major companies such as Standard Life insurers and The BBC have already implemented bans on e-cigarettes in all of their buildings.
While this news may be disappointing to many in the vaping community, it is important that there is an ongoing discussion about the use of e-cigarettes, including where and when it is appropriate.