The law on E-Cigarettes?
The current smoking laws do not apply to e-cigarettes. Currently electronic cigarettes are only covered by consumer product regulations, although from July 2016 they will come under the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive.
Therefore, employers are currently free to decide if and where e-cigarettes can be used on their premises or not.
Acas have issued guidance and we look at their advice here.
They advise that employers should carefully consider the implications for their own business when deciding what to do about E-cigs within their workplace and need to consider that:
- Some employees use E-cigs as part of a plan to stop smoking, so employers may want to support their use if this is the case
- However, the vapour from E-cig might be annoying to some employees and could potentially provide a health risk for others through passive consumption (like passive smoking) as the long term health effects of E-cigarettes are unknown.
Employers should be clear about what their rules are on the use of them at work. If they already have a policy on smoking then they could include information about them in there.
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. These should include rules for cigarette smokers and rules for E-cigarette smokers.