Most employers, either on their own initiative or in response to state or local laws banning smoking in the workplace, have already banned the use of cigarettes and tobacco on their premises. However, the skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes has posed a challenge to such bans.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that heat a nicotine-laced liquid and turn it into a vapor that a user inhales and then exhales. The act of using e-cigarettes has become known as “vaping,” and retail and online stores have sprung up everywhere to satisfy the consumer demand for these products. Unsurprisingly, proponents of e-cigarettes tout them as a safer alternative to cigarettes. The research, however, is not definitive, with the effect of vaping on bystanders unknown as well.
There are a few jurisdictions that have banned e-cigarette use wherever smoking is banned. Employers should, of course, determine whether e-cigarette use is even permitted in a particular location. Even in the absence of a law regulating e-cigarette use in the workplace, employers should consider adding e-cigarettes to their current no-smoking policy. While such may elicit complaints from e-cigarette users, the benefits to adding e-cigarettes to a no-smoking policy allows for consistent enforcement as well as protection for your workforce.