Consider vaping in smoking policies

According to figures published in September 2018, an estimated 3.2 million adults in Great Britain currently use e-cigarettes, up from 700,000 in 2012. There are now more ex-smokers who use e-cigarettes than current smokers. The law on conventional smoking in workplaces in the UK is clear. In terms of the Health Act 2006, the smoking of normal cigarettes is banned in enclosed or substantially enclosed public places, including workplaces.

However, e-cigarettes fall outside of the legal definition set out by the Health Act 2006 and are not covered by the legal ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces. Therefore, it is up to individual employers to take action and set out a policy on the subject.

As e-cigarettes are often used as a means of helping to stop smoking, employers should consider the implications for their own organisations when deciding what to do about e-cigarettes within their workplace. It is important to consider the effects on other members of staff as the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are unknown and having e-cigarette vapours in the workplace may create an unpleasant environment.

ACAS suggests that employers could include a paragraph about e-cigarettes in the existing policy document on smokingfollowing consultation on the new rules with employees and their representatives.

Employers may want to put up signs or notices in the workplace which make it clear where smoking is allowed (if this is the case) and where it is banned, including rules for conventional cigarette smokers and rules for e-cigarette users.

Any policy should make the following clear:

Unauthorised or excessive taking of smoking or e-smoking breaks will result in disciplinary action.
Smoking of cigarettes or using of e-cigarettes in a prohibited area at work will result in disciplinary action.
Smoking in a designated smoke-free public area is a criminal offence

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