This is likely to be a divisive topic among employers. E-cigarettes have risen immeasurably since 2010, with an estimated 2.6 million users in the UK alone.
Evidence suggests there are various health and cost improvements to the e-cig, and there’s bound to be employees who would argue they and their employer would benefit. Despite this, are they suitable for an office environment?
Firstly, it must be established that e-cigarettes don’t omit smoke, but vapour. So you don’t have to worry about your office ponging of smoke. Moreover, there are currently no known health risks attached to the devices
As e-cigarettes are not burnt, they’re considered a free legislation. This means you, the employer, hold the right to choose whether you want the devices in your workplace.
There are several arguments to suggest it would be advantageous for all parties to allow e-cigarettes in the workplace. Smokers can satisfy their urges whenever they need to and won’t be leaving the office for fag breaks.
This could lead to staff producing more work and being generally happier and more comfortable at work.
E-cigarettes are widely recognised as the best method of quitting smoking all together, and even the NHS will be prescribing the devices in the near future. So the employer could actually be helping smokers quit.
But there are some negatives. You could say a workplace full of employees puffing away would lack professionalism and won’t impress visitors and managers.
Some non-smokers may find the vapours circulating in the air annoying or distracting, which may affect your business’ output.
Despite there being no evidence of health risks, it is unknown whether e-cigarettes can cause long-term damage either for smokers or second hand smokers.
Debates on this subject are likely to be long and unabated. There are many factors to consider. But, as of right now, the employer will have the final say.