Vaping at work
The Department of Health has published a Tobacco Control Plan
for England following the publication, on 6 July 2017, of advice
from Public Health England (PHE) on the use of e-cigarettes in
public places and workplaces .
These documents highlight that the use of e-cigarettes, commonly
known as vaping, is significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco
(based on current evidence). This extends to second-hand vapour as
well. Vaping is unlikely to fall within the ambit of the statutory
smoking ban. On this basis, and in the context of facilitating
vaping for the purposes of reducing smoking levels, the PHE advice
is that vaping should not routinely be included in an
organisation's smokefree policy and organisations should consider
whether to permit vaping on their premises. Despite this there is
acknowledgment of factors that count against doing so (for example,
commercial considerations or professional etiquette and possible
effects of vapour on asthma sufferers).
There is no intention expressed in the Department of Health's
plan to require or promote vaping in the workplace.
Neither of these documents are likely to alter employers'
discretion to ban vaping (in addition to the statutory ban on
smoking). While vaping may be less harmful than smoking, employers
should carefully risk assess before permitting it. Indeed,
employers may encounter strong resistance from workforces if they
seek to permit vaping where it is has been banned to date.
Posted on: 10/08/2017
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
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