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By Rowlands & Hames - 15 May 2013
E-cigarettes work by vaporising a liquid that contains nicotine, which is a safe alternative to smoking tobacco.
The long term effects are not known yet, e-cigarettes still deliver nicotine to the user which is harmful and addictive. Various studies have also found a number of harmful substances within the vapour given off, however the levels tend to be in tiny trace amounts.
An employer is not in breach of the Health Act 2006 if they allow employees to use the e-cigarettes inside their buildings and the smoker isn’t breaking the law if they smoke them within public places.
Proposals to update the European Tobacco Products Directive are being debated to include the regulation of products which do not contain tobacco but are closely linked to smoking. Tighter regulations seem to be on the cards.
There is no compelling evidence that you need to ban e-cigarettes use to protect staff’s health, but if colleagues begin to complain or you do not like the image portrayed you are free to introduce work rules provided they are lawful and reasonable. Employers could include them within their smoking policy, and confine use to designated areas / outside.
Rowlands & Hames would like to thank “The Safety Group Ltd” for this article.