The vaping at work debate is back!

The vaping at work debate is back!

Over the past year, there has been discussion and continued debate about the legality of vaping in the workplace. So, what’s the latest?

There’s no doubt that vaping has increased in popularity to become a widespread alternative to smoking, and as a result, the number of tobacco smokers has significantly decreased in recent years. Many people are now choosing to vape in order to quit smoking and, often, for the taste, social aspect and cost-saving benefits too.              

Today, there are almost three million vapers in the UK, a figure that is steadily increasing, compared with the current seven million tobacco smokers. Bearing this in mind and as a means of encouraging employees to look at alternative solutions, talks around the possibility of legalising vaping in the workplace have begun once again.

Vaping is still fairly new in comparison to tobacco smoking, and far less is known about any (if at all) potential health risks to other non-vaping and non-smoking employees in the workplace. This is where the hesitance lies.

Vaping was not considered under the same legislation as smoking in the national smoking ban back in 2007 and, consequently, is now very much a grey area.

That said, employers have started to look at vaping at work as the popularity of vaping has increased.

Public Health England (PHE), has suggested that there are five considerations to make in understanding vaping in the workplace:

  1. Distinguish between vaping and smoking
  2. Form policies on the basis of evidence on health risks to bystanders
  3. Identify risks to children and young people
  4. Support smokers to remain smoke-free and avoid smoking tobacco
  5. Support compliance with smoke-free law and policies

PHE has stated that, although vaping is still very new, it must remain under health consideration much like smoking was.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, has admitted that “e-cigarettes are still a relatively new product, so it’s understandable that many people and businesses may not know how to deal with them.” However, he added: “The evidence so far shows e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco and they have the potential to help people give up a deadly addiction.”

As a result of the health implications of vaping remaining under intense scrutiny due to vaping’s relatively recent evolution, vaping is still covered by the same laws as smoking in the workplace. This means that all employers and employees should consider vaping in the workplace under the same laws as smoking in the workplace - for now.


Source credits: BMMagazine