New Government Guidance on Vaping in the Workplace
The UK government have published new guidelines for employers on vaping in the workplace and it’s good news for vapers!
If you like to vape your way through the work day but you’re unclear on the rules of using your e-cigarette at work, these new guidelines published by the government advise employers on what the rules on vaping at work should be.
As of Wednesday 6th July 2016, the UK government advises the following rules on vaping in the workplace:
- Make a clear distinction between vaping and smoking
‘E-cigarette use does not meet the legal or clinical definitions of smoking. Furthermore, international peer-reviewed evidence suggests that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes and have the potential to help drive down smoking rates, denormalise smoking and improve public health. So policies need to be clear on the differences between vaping and smoking’.
- Ensure policies are based on evidence of harm to bystanders
‘The evidence of harm from secondhand smoke is conclusive and provides the basis for UK smokefree laws. In contrast, international peer-reviewed evidence indicates that the risk to the health of bystanders from secondhand e-cigarette vapour is extremely low and insufficient to justify prohibiting e-cigarettes. This evidence should inform risk assessments’.
- Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people
‘E-cigarette use is not recommended for young people and this is reflected in the UK’s age of sale and advertising restrictions. However, because adult smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking and stay smokefree, the products can help reduce children’s and young people’s exposure to secondhand smoke and smoking role models. In developing policies for child and youth settings, guarding against potential youth uptake should be balanced with fostering an environment where it is easier for adults not to smoke’.
- Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree
‘E-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by smokers and ex-smokers and are now the most popular stop-smoking aid in England. To help smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree, a more enabling approach to vaping may be appropriate to make it an easier choice than smoking. In particular, vapers should not be required to use the same space as smokers, as this could undermine their ability to quit and stay smokefree’.
- Support compliance with smokefree law and policies
‘Maintain and support compliance with smokefree requirements by emphasising a clear distinction between smoking and vaping. Indicate accurately where vaping is permitted or prohibited, and communicate the policy clearly to everyone it affects’.
Although these points are very much in the vaper’s favour, advising against segregating the vapers with the smokers, it is still worth considering your behaviour as an ambassador of the vaping community. Ensuring that you follow a basic vaping etiquette to vape responsibly around others will help to set a great example to both your fellow vapers and those who are still forming an impression of the vaping community.
Here are some helpful tips that we recommend for being a responsible vaper:
- Ask, don’t assume
If you’re not sure if it’s ok vape, always ask first. Whether you’re at work, in a drinking/dining establishment or even in someone else's home it’s always polite to ask before you inhale. Although we love vaping for many reasons, some won’t take kindly to unexpected clouds appearing around them.
- Careful with those clouds
Be considerate when you’re blowing clouds because people won’t react well to thick flavoured clouds being blown into their faces, even if many of us do find it infinitely more pleasant than cigarette smoke. If you’re vaping in close proximity of other people, just turn away to exhale or exhale over your shoulder.
- Don’t spread the red mist
Many traditional smokers and non-smokers may question the benefits of vaping. Don’t take this as an attack on vaping but as an opportunity to educate and inform the unconverted masses to the obvious benefits of switching to e-cigarettes. There’s no need to react with anger. A calm and measured response will get your point across in a respectable manner.
- Don’t be careless with your kit
Keep your gear out of reach of curious young hands! Whether it means locking your e-liquids away from your kids or ensuring your vaping kit doesn’t fall into the hands of those under the age of 18. There are substantial fines for those who are found out to be enabling those under age to start vaping.
- Respect requests not to vape around others
There can be various reason why somebody may not wish to have you vaping near them. They may not like the smell, they may not like the clouds, they not understand the point… either way, be polite and respect their request. You may be perfectly fine with others vaping around you but you might not like being surrounded by someone else’s cigarette smoke, so you’ll understand where they’re coming from.