MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (APPGV) have suggested that vaping policies for both businesses and public places should be brought in to help address misunderstandings about the use of ecigarettes and make sure that they’re treated separately to smoking.
The APPGV proposed that the Houses of Parliament should be a vape-friendly zone to help spread the right message about ecigarette use and to make vaping more acceptable in the workplace, Metro reports.
Employers should permit vaping in all outside areas unless there is a professional or safety reason for preventing it, with guidelines set out to cover reasonable vaping etiquette for those who choose to do so. Designated indoor vaping areas should also be provided by companies.
Acas adviser Tom Neil was quoted by the news source as saying: “Ecigarettes or vaping is not covered by the current law that applies to smoking within workplaces. So employers have the freedom to decide what policies to put in place around vaping at work.
“Businesses could decide to ban the activity altogether or to introduce areas where vaping may be allowed. If employers decide to introduce a new policy around vaping, then our advice is to consult with employees or their representatives first to agree a clear policy at work.”
Since some members of staff use vaping as part of their plan to quit smoking altogether, companies may wish to support their use. But don’t forget that other employees might find the vapour produced by ecigs irritating, so it may well be best if you set a rule that states line management approval is required for their use in the office.
You might also want to help support your staff members quit smoking in other ways, whether that’s through an internal health service or by using NHS support services instead.
What is necessary is that employers be clear about what their particular rules are regarding the use of vape pens at work. If you already have a policy on smoking or drugs and alcohol use, include a paragraph or two about ecigarette use in the handbook as well.
Deciding on smoking breaks is also a good idea, as employees who don’t smoke might well be irritated by the fact that they don’t take as many breaks as smokers. Setting out rules such as how many breaks can be taken and how long they should last might well help to prevent any potential problems from arising.
Make it very clear to your staff members that excessive or unauthorised smoking breaks will lead to disciplinary action and also remind them that it is actually a criminal offence to smoke in a designated smoke-free public area… an offence that will result in a fine if they’re not careful.