A CLOSER LOOK AT VAPING IN THE WORKPLACE: A GOOD IDEA OR JUST ANOTHER PIPEDREAM3rd May 2019
VAPING IN PUBLIC
When smoking cigarettes in public places began to face criticism and subsequently became illegal in many states, many individuals opted for a new way to satisfy the urge: vaping. Likewise, many dry herb smokers also made the switch to the less obvious, more discreet and portable dry herb vaporizers.
Some smokers had already switched from combustible smokes and sought to kick the habit by utilizing the innovative smokeless technology. Vaping also appealed to other individuals, non- smokers, who were using it to relax and even relieve pain.
Before vaping reached the level of scrutiny it now faces, individuals could be found vaping anywhere and everywhere that the generations before them had puffed on cigarettes. After all, the second hand “vapor” isn’t really much of a health concern, so vaping could hardly be compared to conventional smoking.
Still, some individuals hold that vaping should be regulated in public, as smoking cigarettes now typically is, and some employers as well are considering policies to address vaping on the job, regardless of the argument that holds vaping is a safe and clean alternative to smoking.
YOUR VAPING RIGHTS IN THE WORKPLACE
Since the Health Act of 2006 smoking has been prohibited in any enclosed workplace, vaping swiftly gains popularity, whether or not vaping should be permitted in the workplace has become a frequent and widespread debate. Granted the use of dry herbs might never be approved (with the possible exception being with a medical card).
Research your local and state laws to be clear with regards to where vaping is allowed. Several local and state jurisdictions have begun to enact laws prohibiting public vaping everywhere that smoking is banned. Regarding workplace vaping, many states support employer discretion; however several states have banned vaping in the workplace altogether. Additionally, some cities have ordinances in place regarding workplace vaping.
In states with no laws against vaping in the workplace, employees must still consider and abide by employer rules. In many cases vaping may not be allowed on the premises with the exception of designated smoking areas.
Although using a vape pen is typically considered more acceptable than smoking cigarettes around others, some individuals are still offended by vaping devices and the light trails of mildly scented vapor it sends into the air we all share. If an employer permits vaping at work such should be done with respect to fellow employees and their personal space considered.
Communicate with your coworkers. If your vaping is bothering a fellow employee, consider relocating your work space or vaping on breaks. Avoid blowing vapor in the direction of a coworker. Blow vapor toward the ground and stick to subtle flavors. Try using a “pod mod” system. This little devices allows for more stealth while smoking and doesn’t produce large clouds of vapor.
While workplace vaping may currently be permitted, partaking in an inconsiderate manner will likely weaken that policy.
WHY VAPE IN THE FIRST PLACE
Sure, vaping hasn’t been around long enough for extensive long term testing, but it is evident that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking.
Vaping involves inhalation of water vapor, glycerol and flavoring. Compare that to the myriad toxins and chemicals within cigarette smoke. Vaping has in fact been shown to be an estimated 95% healthier than traditional smoking.
Likewise, smoking dry herb, by way of combustion emits a range of toxic compounds that are detrimental to our health and well-being. Yes, even though your herb is all-natural, the simple act of “burning” it creates a smoke that is harmful. Vaping on the other hand doesn’t rely on “lighting” the herb on fire in order to extract and provide you with the same powerful flavor and active compounds to get the result you’re looking for.
SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE BOSS?
What incentive does the employer have to allow vaping at work? Well, happy employees work harder and produce better results. Smokers won’t be performing at their best while suffering for a smoke break, nor losing productive minutes to those 15-min smoke breaks. Not to mention cessation of smoking improves overall health and well-being, meaning fewer sick days and time off.
Some companies have even acknowledged that they see production benefits when vaping is allowed, not just on smoke breaks which results in production loss, but at the workstation. Vaping some types of herb, or oils like mint, lemon or ginseng infused can boost mood, energy and productivity.
REAPING THE BENEFITS
As mentioned, the most obvious benefit of choosing the vape pen over smoking is the health benefit. Healthy employees are more likely to show up to work and make money for businesses. Cigarette smokers, by contrast, are more of a liability, as health insurance premiums rise to address a multitude of health complications associated with smoking.
Some companies also incentivize their workforce to quit smoking with financial incentives or reduced insurance costs.
Finally, when the hundreds of little smoke breaks are all added up it is evident that companies could save a great deal of money by eliminating the breaks and allowing workers to vape while on the clock.
Work performance may also be improved by allowing vaping in the workplace. Vaping can reduce stress and anxiety; some oils can enhance alertness while others can play a role in calming a frustrated or overwhelmed employee.
With regards to vaping, some have expressed concerns that there may be a potential health risk to the public involving second hand vapor, comparable to the health risks of secondhand cigarette smoke. To date, there is no data indicating that vapor poses dangerous health risks. However, indoor vaping, at least when e-juice with nicotine is being used, can increase air pollutants, so outdoor vaping is preferred.
Businesses that deal with clients and customers in the workplace must practice more discretion out of courtesy to the public and may abide by policies that restrict vaping to smoking areas. Coworkers must also be considerate of colleagues who may be sensitive to smells or even have breathing issues.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Some businesses permit vaping although they are considered a “smoke-free” workplace which speaks to the accepting perspective organizations often take toward vaping in comparison to cigarette smoking.
Although swiftly gaining in popularity, vaping is still new, and its likely that one’s place of work doesn’t have a policy regarding it yet.
Ask your employer’s Human Resources department if your workplace handbook does not address the company’s vaping policy. It may be time to incorporate vaping policy so that all employees understand when, where and if vaping is permitted in the workplace.
AS VAPING OVERTAKES SMOKING
Vaping is well on its way to replacing smoking in the workplace environment. It is safer, cleaner, and more acceptable than smoking cigarettes. Becoming more and more recognized as the safe alternative to smoking, vaping is now an option employers are considering for employees.
Employees interested in vaping can become familiar with legislation in their area to determine if vaping is legal in the workplace; understanding the specific policies of the workplace in question is also beneficial.
Just don’t forget to be courteous of coworkers who may not partake and abide by company rules regarding vaping etiquette.