Guidance on vaping at work
Earlier this month, Public Health England (PHE) issued new framework advice for business and employers regarding the use of e-cigarettes (otherwise known as “vaping”) at work. Back in February 2015 we reported that an Employment Judge had warned employers not to conflate “vaping” with “smoking” in a case that dealt with an employee who had been dismissed for “vaping” at work.
Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE’s National Director of Health and Wellbeing is reported as saying “The evidence is clear that vaping is much less harmful that smoking and that e-cigarettes are helping many smokers to quit”. In a press release, PHE confirm that there is presently no evidence of harm from second hand e-cigarette vapour, nor is there evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as route into smoking for young people. This is in contrast to the almost 78,000 deaths each year which are known to be caused by smoking.
The new framework advice sets out 5 principles designed to help employers to develop their own policies on vaping. These state that employers should:
- Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking;
- Ensure policies and informed by the evidence on health risks to bystanders;
- Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people;
- Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smoke free;
- Support compliance with smoke free laws and policies.
Employers may wish to take the publication of the new PHE advice as a further opportunity to review their policies and procedures in relation to smoking and “vaping” at work and decide whether or not they are up to date. The PHE advice emphasises the need to deal with smoking and “vaping” separately and where possible to support smokers who are using “vaping” as a way to ultimately give up completely.
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