Smoking inside the office or a workplace is prohibited. Thus, any employees who like to smoke needs to take several breaks and several trips outside. This obviously and significantly reduces the productivity on an employee. Apparently, more smokers are discovering that they can use electronic cigarettes in place of traditional cigarettes so they can be allowed to smoke inside the office.
Laws that forbid traditional smoking do not apply to ecig use unless the local officials or employers specifically ban it. Electronic vapors do not contain the tar, toxins and carcinogens of tobacco smoke, despite delivering nicotine to the user.
The products are not marketed as smoke cessation tools, only as alternatives to smoking. Yet, employee wellness programs are now widely being pushed so many employers are now seriously considering ecig ban in their premises.
Comments From Proponents
Such ecig ban in workplaces is not approved by ecigarette proponents such as Peter Denholtz saying that electronic cigarettes actually boost productivity.
Taking smoke breaks uses a lot of time that could have been spent by a worker in completing his/her work tasks. He said that it would be crazy not to allow ecigarettes inside the office.
Only the previous month, Denholtz and others have founded the very first ecig emporium in SoHo neighborhood in NY. It is called the Vaporium where customers can just hang out in the bar and order various flavors of e-liquids. Other similar venues exist in Washington and in California.
He said that their business has been quite good ever since they opened. Yet, he is eyeing potential market in Manhattan high rise offices. By November, Vaporium will be launching their delivery service.
Wall Street, in particular, is what Denholtz said is a perfect location. Most people there are hardworking and seriously playing in their own respective fields. Up on trading floors, smoking is not allowed so even while trading, they are forced to go outside if they like to smoke.
Checking Ecig Legal Status First
According to Counsel Celia Joseph of Fisher & Phillips law firm located in Philadelphia, employers need first to check on the local and state laws regarding the use of electronic cigarettes in offices. There are now many states and localities pushing ban on ecigarette use in public, including workplaces. In New Jersey, this is already an enforced law.
Joseph said that employers need to consider several legal issues. They need to review various references before allowing workers to use electronic cigarettes. Objectives must first be clarified before HR policies are created, according to Thomas Bright who is a shareholder of Ogletree Deakins law firm located in Greenville in South Carolina.
HR policies must be formulated on whether smoking alone will be banned or both smoking and vaping will be prohibited. The policies should also be clear on whether a company is legally allowed to hire smokers; to ban nicotine, etc.
Such controversies about allowing electronic cigarettes to be used in offices have caused employees to react differently. However, employers are legally bound by the state and local legislation.
In Minnesota, for instance, employers have been asking whether vaping should be allowed inside the workplace. Others ask if they can allow it if they want to.
Employers in Minnesota are not actually required to ban vaping because the state’s department of health said that the smoking ban is not applicable on ecigs.
Each employer is left to make its decision on ecig use. Decisions must be based on how these devices will affect the workplace. Potential benefits in promoting better business as well as possible drawbacks must be carefully considered.
Moreover, the edict limitedly applies on the off-duty use whereby an employee will not be punished if he or she uses the products in another place outside the workplace.
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