E-cigarettes in the workplace — no smoke without fire

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The charity Action on Smoking and Health estimates that 1.3 million people are currently using electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes) in the UK. What stance should employers take to this growing phenomenon?

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices designed to replicate smoking behaviour without the use of tobacco. They turn nicotine, flavour and other chemicals into a vapour that is inhaled by the user. The exhaled vapour can be seen and some products also have a light at the tip that illuminates when the user inhales.

While smoking in enclosed or substantially enclosed workplaces in England has been prohibited since July 2007 (under the Health Act 2006) in order to reduce the health risks associated with tobacco, in view of the fact that e-cigarettes do not use tobacco it is very unlikely that e-cigarettes are covered by the smoking ban in England, although other countries such as Canada, Denmark and Australia have taken the step to ban them…

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