Smoking is already a major issue for many employers but the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes has created a new problem for many workplaces, because vaporisers aren’t covered by smoking legislation, according to leading workplace equipment supplier Slingsby.
Research shows that in 2015, e-cigarette usage grew by 24% on the previous year, with 2.6 million adults now using them in the UK alone.
Public Health England also gave an additional boost to e-cigarettes by saying they are 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.
E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid solution, which contains nicotine, to produce a vapour that users inhale. The solutions are available in a wide range of strengths and flavours.
Slingsby supplies more than 35,000 workplace products across all industries including an extensive range of smoking shelters, related signage, ashtrays and cigarette bins. Dominic Slingsby, Operations Director at Slingsby, explains: “The use of ecigarettes at work has been a bone of contention for several years but their rapid growth means it’s now more of an issue than ever before.
“We regularly advise workplaces about creating smoking areas and the legislation that surrounds these. Most employers will also have clear smoking policies that explain when and where people can smoke.
“However smoking legislation only covers tobacco and substances that can be smoked when they burn. Because ecigarettes don’t burn anything, it is often argued that they fall outside this legislation as well as the majority of smoking policies.
Therefore, employers need to update their policies so they specifically mention the use of e-cigarettes.
“Policies should also be clear about whether bans extend to company vehicles and employees who are working off-site, because using ecigarettes might reflect negatively on the professional image of the organisation.”
Finally Dominic adds: “Employers need to make their own decision about how they deal with ecigarettes.
Making people use them in designated smoking areas, with cigarette smokers, could hinder those who are trying to stop smoking altogether but allowing e-cigarettes to be used in the workplace, is also likely to irritate other employees.
“Creating dedicated ‘vaping’ areas is proving to be the obvious solution for many employers, but ultimately it comes down to the individual workplace and its circumstances.”
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