You’ve been sitting at your desk staring at your computer screen for a few hours and you can think of nothing you’d like to do more than have a quick puff on your e-cigarette while you take a break. Do you vape at your desk or head outside to a dedicated vaping area? Or, in some cases, will you have to venture into the nearby smoking shelter? Do you get extra Vaping Breaks? Vapers who work in an office will undoubtedly already know what a minefield it can be to vape at work. There have been countless stories throughout the last year about the dos and don’ts of vaping at work, as well as ever-changing guidance, rules and regulations.
In today’s post we’re going to tackle some areas of vaping in the workplace, from the current guidelines to our top dos and don’ts.
First of all, let’s take a look at what you guys think about vaping in the workplace.
A few weeks ago we ran a poll on our Twitter page where we asked you what your workplace’s stance on vaping is, and whether or not you agree.
The results were mixed, though the vast majority of workplaces do not currently allow vaping (85%). 50% agreed that vaping doesn’t have a place in the office, with 35% thinking that it does.
15% of you confirmed your workplace does allow vaping, with 4% of you disagreeing with this decision.
As you can see, it was an interesting mix of results and falls in line with the current confusion that seems to be circulating about whether or not workplaces should allow or ban vaping.
The main reason for confusion is that e-cigarettes currently fall outside of the smoke-free legislation that regulates how employers treat smoking in the workplace. This legislation requires a substance to be burned, which is why e-cigarettes are exempt.
Vaping rules are pretty much at the employers discretion at the moment. ACAS goes into the nuanced issues of vaping in the workplace in further detail. ACAS says "employers can choose whether to allow employees to smoke them at work or not". Is that a 'typo' by ACAS, surely they mean vape !
ACAS goes on to say:
“There may be a concern that preventing the use of E-cigarettes at work may hinder those who use them to stop smoking, particularly if they are required to smoke them in designated smoking areas together with cigarette smokers. Employers may want to consider organising a separate E-cigarette smoking area external to work premises.”
This is an interesting point, as those offices that don’t allow vaping in the workplace often have no dedicated vaping shelter, meaning vapers have to share a shelter with smokers, is that fair ? The drawbacks to this are obvious and well-documented, and we were disappointed to see that only one vaper who responded to our poll confirmed that her workplace provides a separate shelter for vapers.
We understand the reasons why some employers don’t want to see vaping inside the office itself but we would like to see more workplaces supporting employees who vape and provide an adequate outdoor space for vapers, and away from smokers if that's what vapers want.
Dos and Don’ts
DO ask your employer for information about the company’s policy on e cigarette use. If possible obtain this in writing so you have a paper trail. Vaping is still relatively new so some employers policies are still evolving.
DO request better facilities if you feel they’re lacking. If there’s no dedicated vaping shelter outside then you’re not out of order to ask for one to be provided. Do your research and be polite, reasonable & understanding, and you’ll find they’re more than likely to be reasonable with you.
DO talk to and listen to your co-workers. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s permitted to vape inside the office, be respectful to your fellow employees and where possible try to avoid vaping around anybody who would prefer you not to.
DO try to be understanding & tolerant if you do not vape. Talk to your employer & colleagues about vaping and your views on the subject. Try to be reasonable and rationale when putting forward your views and then listen to those of your employer and colleagues if they do want to vape. If you cannot reach agreement write to your employer explaining your feelings about vaping and submit evidence to support your views.
DON’T resort to stealth vaping. If vaping is banned from your office then respect that decision, as frustrating as you might find it
DON’T blow clouds. If you are permitted to vape inside the office then keep it subtle, no blowing huge clouds of vapour that might distract your colleagues
DON’T vape highly flavoured/scented e-liquids in the office. As above, if you are allowed to vape in the office then opt for a neutral e-liquid where the smell won’t linger
Now we want to hear from you. What is your workplace’s policy on vaping? If vaping is banned in your office, are you provided with a separate outside shelter or do you have to share the existing smoking shelter? Do you co-workers complain about your vaping in the office? Do they complain if you get vaping breaks if you have to go outside to vape. We’d love to hear more about your experience with vaping in (or outside) the workplace, so please don’t hesitate to share your story with us on Facebook or Twitter.