Public Health England recently published a report called Use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces: Advice to inform evidence-based policy making (6 July 2017). Noting that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco (based on the evidence currently available), Public Health England have suggested that vaping should not be routinely banned as part of an employer’s smoke-free policy.
Electronic cigarettes simulate the act of smoking and release nicotine but do not contain harmful tobacco. The definition of “smoking” under the Health Act 2006 is poorly drafted but it is generally thought that e-cigarettes do not fall within the smoking ban. Despite this, employers can still ban e-cigarettes in their Staff Handbooks and other policies. Employers may choose to ban for any number of reasons including: business efficiency; health & safety; professional etiquette; and concerns about the impact of vapour on asthma sufferers.
Whether it is to ban or not to ban, we are interested to hear from any employers looking to review their smoking policies in light of the growing popularity of vaping.
For more information or to speak to one of our employment solicitors, please call us on 01924 387 110.