Vaping at Work

In this article we talk about vaping at work in the UK including the benefits, arguments and my own experience of vaping at work in the times that smoking is now banned in the workplace.

My story

I found vaping going back over a year ago now and I remember at that point it was one of the best things I had ever discovered especially to give up my nasty habit for so many years.  I went into work and started vaping and didn’t see a problem with it.  My colleague also had no issues and actually enjoyed the smells of the vapour and also engaged us with some interesting conversation.  I would always get asked what flavour I was using that day and sometimes seeing the reaction was quite funny.  I was vaping for several weeks at work until my manager noticed me doing it in the office and it resulted in a conversation over that Nicotine is toxic and that do not yet know the possible harms from these new devices.  He had also heard negatives things about ecigarettes and friends had warned him about them.  Although it is difficult to argue with your manager, I felt strong that I was not doing anything wrong and I thought it was benefiting my health and productivity at work.  I would argue that many things in life are toxic including water if you do misuse them!

So from then on, I started vaping outside, this resulted in me standing next to other smokers and passive smoking which was not very enjoyable. I was also stood out in the rain which was not much fun either.  The only good thing is that I managed to convince a few of the smokers outside to try out vaping and gave them some guidance on where to start with the switch. The end result is that I might have saved someone’s life or their health!

Vaping Policy and Considerations

So what should the policy be at work on vaping? We all have to keep everyone happy eh?  Vaping at work is not illegal and it would not fall into the smoking legislation but it is really down to the company policy or what you manager says.

Employers must remember that nothing is been burned, what they see is not smoke and encouraging the employees to give up smoking surely can only be a good thing right?

Maybe an attempt to try and educate your manager will work or try to educate those that do not understand vaping then they may rethink their decision.

If other workers do not like the smell of the vapour produced then can I tell others not to wear certain types of perfume or deodorants because these can be much stronger that vapour!

Employers should have in place, a clear vaping policy otherwise the employee may have every right to challenge a situation where they have been warned about the use of an ecigarette.

Some smokers may argue that if you allow vaping in the workplace then you should allow smoking but that is against the law and passive smoking is proven to be damaging to other peoples health.

If you do decide to start vaping at work then ask your manager first to check the policy and their thoughts on the matter.  I think some of this depends on where you work and what type of work you are doing.

Why should vaping be allowed in the workplace?

  • It encourages individuals to give up smoking and promotes well-being
  • Reduces the cost of workers taking breaks outside and enables more productivity
  • No current evidence suggests passive vapour from e-Cigarettes harms others
  • Prevents those vaping from receiving passive smoking outside or in a shelter
  • Nicotine can have positive motivational effects

Why should vaping not be allowed in the workplace?

  • If evidence came out that vaping has negative health effects then this could raise a case for damages against the employer – Update August 2015 – E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review
  • Other workers may not like the smell of the vapour produced
  • It could give the company a bad image depending on the nature of business or working environment

How about stealth vaping at work?

The other option is that you could stealth vape when your manager is not around, this involves taking small hits on your vape or using e-Liquid with a low VG content to reduce clouds of vapour. You could always do this in the toilets and it will not set off the smoke alarms either!

Further reading and resources

Joint statement on e-cigarettes by Public Health England and other UK public health organisations

First vaping tribunal ruling sounds warning for employers

Vaping at work: e-cigarettes in the spotlight

ACAS Guidance on e-Cigarettes in the workplace

HR Zone – Vaping in the work place developing a policy

Bosses urged to let staff vape at work

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