Electronic Cigarettes in the Workplace

Are Electronic Cigarettes Legal at work?

An Electronic cigarette or e cigarette does not contain tobacco or produce passive smoke. Passive smoke generated from tobacco cigarettes and cigars is the prime concern of the smoking ban because non-smokers are forced to inhale tobacco smoke without choice.

The electronic cigarette is not governed by the smoking ban or restricted by tobacco laws due to the cigarette construction and contents.

In terms of the law, it is perfectly legal to ‘smoke’ or vape electronic cigarettes in nightclubs, restaurants, cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, buses and just about anywhere.

Smoking at Work

Tobacco smoking in the workplace is restricted and the law enforced by the Health Act which bans customers, members of staff, consultants and visitors from smoking in public places and on their premises.

The Health Act does not affect the use of electronic cigarettes. Using an e cigarette is not classified as ‘Smoking’ as nothing is burned, but is termed ‘vaping’ just like a regular nicotine inhaler with the added benefit of the ability to inhale a realistic cigarette tasting, visible vapour. Legally, people are permitted to use an electronic cigarette in the workplace including work vehicles and offices.

However, if consuming food or drink in the work area is not allowed and depending on the type of occupation, an employer may not approve the use of electronic cigarettes while working or carrying out certain tasks.

It will be up to employers to determine when and where this device is used, there may be some opposition from members of staff, particularly in relation to the potential health effects as a mist is produced when used, although there is no evidence to suggest that the mist is likely to affect anyone.

Consider discussing this topic with members of staff as some may be uncomfortable with the device, such as pregnant women.

If you need further advice please contact us.

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