Public Health England issued a guide on E-cigarettes in the office.
Every smoker has been in that situation, you are at work, the nicotine cravings have started but it has started to rain and you have to go outside to get your fix. It's a common issue ever since 2006 when the new laws come in to make workplaces became smoke free and smoking inside illegal. This is without doubt a good thing but it did leave many a smoker in a quandary, you don't want to leave but your body's craving nicotine! With the introduction of the electronic cigarette many of our prayers were answered
It was suddenly fine to get our nicotine fix inside in the warmth rather then stand in the cold. But as e-cigarettes have become more common, workplaces begun lumping them into the same rules as cigarettes. In some places workplaces have even gone further to outright ban the e-cigarette. Recently Public Health England, or PHE for short, released a guide for workplaces in which they say "To support smokers to stop smoking and stay smoke free, a more enabling approach should be implemented". They go on to list a few ways that every workplace should help people make the switch away from cigarettes. If your workplace doesn't know what to do with e-cigarettes yet, here are a few points to think about.
1. Make clear the distinction between an electronic cigarette and a cigarette
The first thing that any workplace needs to do is make clear the difference between an e-cigarette and a cigarette. After all smoking and vaping are by clinical and legal definitions different things, and confusing them is a common mistake. A cigarette creates second and even third hand smoke which affects everyone around them. An e-cigarette though produces vapour, which only contains water and minuscule amounts of nicotine.
A good way of doing this is to make sure that in all rules there is a clear difference between the two. One way to do this is to refer to using an e-cigarette as vaping rather than smoking. This quickly and effectively distinguishes one from the other and avoids all confusion.
Once you have made certain that there is a difference between vaping and smoking in your policy the next step is to make sure there are different rules for each of them. It is all well and good if you make a difference between the two in your rules but you also have to do something about it as well.
2. Ensure policies are informed by the evidence on the health risks
There is a lot of information about e-cigarettes, and not all of it is backed up by science. When you are making your policy try and find out what the current science is saying. A couple of examples are:
- Currently PHE has said e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful then cigarettes.
- That e-cigarettes are the most effective method of quitting for smokers.
- Vapour they produce is not harmful to people around them.
- The health risks to those around e-cigarette users then is next to nothing.
But there are other considerations when it comes to e-cigarettes users, such as how much they use it. Studies have shown that unlike a smoker who only needs 1 cigarette an hour to keep their nicotine intake at a normal level, an e-cigarette user will need to use it more. This is due to vapour not transferring as much nicotine to the body. When you are writing your policy then it is good to remember that an e-cigarette user will have to use it more to achieve the same effect.
3. Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people
One of the most important parts of the smoke free initiative was to stop the young from seeing smoking as a normal part of life. After all if you walked into a pub and everyone was smoking it would be easy to try one yourself. With the growth of e-cigs the same worries then have been raised. But the good news is that studies have shown that this is not the case. Almost all of e-cigarette users were smokers before. However PHE advises that just in case if you work near children to keep anything that looks like a cigarette away from public.
4. Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree
Helping people stay off the cigarettes is the reason for the smoke free initiative and e-cigarettes can help with that. When you are making policy remember that e-cigarettes are tool which people are using to quit smoking. If you make it too difficult to use then there is always a chance that they will go back to smoking.
However you will have to put in some rules. One of the main complaints against vaping in the workplace is that it seems unprofessional (and annoying) when someone is producing vast clouds of vapour. It can be a nuisance to those around them and be generally off-putting. This is especially true if the vaper is customer facing! What we at SMOKO suggest is trying one of the more discreet e-cigarettes like ours. An e-cigarette that will help people quit but won't produce enough vapour to offend everyone around them but will get them the nicotine the need.
One of the biggest things not to do if you want to support people to quit with e-cigarettes is to force them outside with the smokers. First most people will see it as a punishment to have to go outside. Secondly if you put someone who is quitting with a group of smokers you make it much harder for them. Tempting an ex smoker to take up cigarettes again would be rather counter productive.
5. Vapourisers and the Office
Another aspect of e-cigarettes to consider is that with the bigger, box like vapourisers they will need to refill the tanks with e-liquid. Though all bottles should be childproof it would be a good idea to make certain that they are out the way from children or any animals. With the e-cigarette type of course this is not an issue as the refills hold the liquid, so it can’t be spilt or played with.
If you want a healthier, happier workforce then you need to help people quit. Letting them use an e-cigarette in peace is a huge step towards that. We even have a starter pack for just £5.95 (that's the P&P) and see if you can make the switch!
To read the full findings of the survey click here.
About SMOKO Premium E-Cigarette
SMOKO Premium Electronic Cigarettes is the UK’s leading brand of e-cigarettes. Since SMOKO began 5 years ago, we have helped prevent over 100,000,000 cigarettes being smoked. We have helped our customers save over £32,500,000 in extra disposable income.
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