No Smoking – but what about Vaping?
The ‘smoking ban’ has been in place since July 2007. The ban includes smoking in work vehicles as well as enclosed and substantially enclosed public areas and work spaces. However, what are the rules for ‘Vaping’ in the workplace?
Currently the fixed penalty for smoking in a workplace/work vehicle is £50, reduced to £30 if paid within fifteen days of issue. (If prosecuted by the court the maximum fine limit is £200).
Those who do not maintain a Smoke Free workplace e.g. business owners can face a maximum penalty of £2500.
Appropriate no smoking signs must also be clearly placed in all smoke free premises and vehicles. Not adhering to Signage Regulations can result in a fixed penalty of £200, reduced to £150 if paid within fifteen days from issue. (Court prosecuted cases hold a maximum fine level of £1000).
Although in recent years, electronic cigarettes and vaporisers have become more popular. Electronic cigarettes fall outside the scope of the smoking free legislation, meaning currently there is no law that states they cannot be used in the workplace.
E-cigarettes are not risk free, but based on current evidence they carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes. Public Health England’s independent review of the latest evidence found that using an e-cigarette (known as ‘vaping’) is around 95% safer than smoking.
Some employees use E-cigarettes 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-cigarettes might be uncomfortable for others in the workplace and it may also encourage non-smokers to take up the habit.
Whilst the law doesn’t prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in the workplace you can still ban their use in your workplace. We are already seeing a trend for this in pubs, restaurants and on public transport. Whether you decide to ban electronic cigarettes in your workplace is up to you, consider the pros and cons and decide what’s best for your business, employees and customers.
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