The electronic cigarette in the workplace
How to prevent an outbreak of vaping
As almost always happens when addictive substances are banned, alternatives spring up to replace them. In 2004 the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 was introduced. It banned smoking in the workplace and other areas. An alternative to smoking has grown in popularity, in the form of the electronic cigarette. It is a nicotine containing product. It vaporises liquid containing nicotine, which can then be inhaled. It claims to replicate the sensation of smoking, but without the harmful carcinogens. Nicotine is still addictive and the e cigarette can still pose a fire hazard in the workplace. The legislators are working to catch up on the impact of e cigarettes on society and the European Commission has published a proposal for a new EU Tobacco Products Directive. The current position is however that no legislation is in place which would ban the use of e cigarettes in the workplace.
What should I do as an employer to protect my employees from e cigarettes in the workplace?
While the legislation is being considered, it would seem prudent to upgrade your workplace smoking policy to include the new method of obtaining nicotine. Be careful how it is worded as you may end up banning nicotine patches and other aids to quitting smoking. You should take legal advice from experienced experts before altering your workplace policies.
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Image courtesy Vaping360