Can I vape at work?
There’s little doubt that vaping is now part of modern day popular culture. It’s likely that a good percentage of people who vape are working, so a common question they, along with anyone considering using an electronic cigarette for the first time, may be asking is: ‘Can I vape at work?’
What the law says
Smoking tobacco products in an enclosed space was outlawed in summer 2007 (via the Health Act 2006), a ruling which led to a ban on smoking in offices, schools, and any other place that fell under the umbrella of this law. Whether or not individual employers supported this change is irrelevant, but the situation for vaping is different. The use of e-cigarettes is not covered by this law, as they don’t burn any ingredients like a traditional cigarette does, and as the name suggests, vapes produce vapour, not smoke. This means that the decision on whether e cigarettes can be used in any form at work is entirely up to the employer.
Employers vaping policies vary
Unless your workplace has a clear policy on vaping in place, the only way to know if you can vape at work is to ask. National or global businesses with many employees are more likely to have addressed the issue via an official vaping policy, while smaller or independent businesses may be more flexible. It’s not unusual for people who vape to be relegated to the outside smoking area, often hidden from view of clients and customers, but in some cases an employer may allow employees who vape to do so indoors, perhaps with some conditions attached.
Vaping etiquette at work
If you have permission to vape inside, it’s still important to use your e cig with consideration for others. Of course, you can ask your colleagues if they have a problem with you vaping around them, but some people may feel uncomfortable about objecting. The most thoughtful way to handle this is to use a discreet vape device in a quiet place, and to save it for break times - similar to smokers.
If your situation means vaping (mostly) freely at work, look at using a pen-style e-cigarettes and choose products which offer both high and low levels of Vegetable Glycerine (VG). Less VG means producing smaller clouds of vapour and is an easy switch to make to be considerate to others.
Vaping at work can be a tricky road to navigate, especially when many people are still unfamiliar with what an e-cigarette actually is, or unsure about how it works. By making yourself aware of the guidelines in place and practicing thoughtful vaping, you may help shape the way e cigarettes are perceived.
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