Vaping at Work

  • Working Time
A man making notes in a notebook
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

What are your employees' rights when it comes to vaping at work? Read our guide to find out more.

For many employees the start of 2020 is likely to coincide with a New Year’s resolution. Whilst individuals may plan to eat healthier or exercise more, others may focus their efforts on quitting smoking. Individuals often adopt the use of e-cigarettes or ‘vapes’ as part of attempts to give up cigarettes, meaning employers may be faced with an increased number of employees questioning their legal rights to vape work.

Existing legislation bans individuals from smoking in an enclosed workplace, as well as in company vehicles that are used by more than one employee. However, there are no such restrictions in place around the use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping. Despite this, employers are within their rights to set their own rules on certain practices at work and may choose to treat vaping the same as smoking. This will likely require employers to modify any pre-existing policy on smoking at work to ensure the current restrictions are extended to the use of e-cigarettes.

These policies will also typically include clarification of any designated ‘smoking areas’ where staff may be able to smoke or vape during their breaks. These outside areas tend to be away from public view, in order to avoid presenting an ‘unprofessional image’ to visiting clients or passers-by.

When deciding whether to ban vaping it is worth considering how this would impact the workplace. For example, organisations who choose to allow vaping at work are likely to face a number of complaints from smokers of ‘real’ cigarettes who may feel as though they are being treated less favourably when compared to vape users. Even though the laws on these practices are different, taking a favourable approach to vaping could have a detrimental effect on workplace morale.

Additionally, allowing employees to vape freely at work can lead to complaints from non-smoking colleagues who may find the water vapour, or smell, distracting. With this in mind, employers should weigh up whether it is worth the risk, given the impact vaping may have on workplace productivity.

On the other hand, allowing employers to use e-cigarettes in the workplace could actually encourage staff to give up smoking ‘real’ cigarettes and help in efforts to promote improved health and wellbeing. This may prove especially appealing for employers who are keen to reduce the amount days lost to sickness in their organisation. Having said this, recent studies have called into question how healthy vaping is, with several medical reports suggesting excessive use could lead to high blood pressure and cardiac arrest.

Ultimately, employers are free to implement their own approach to vaping in the workplace. Whilst it may be safer to treat vaping the same way as smoking to avoid any workplace disputes, employers who are considering taking a more relaxed approach are advised to carefully consider the pros and cons beforehand.

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and health & safety questions


Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • a man in a garden


    Garden Leave

    In this guide, we'll discuss what garden leave is, employee rights during this type of leave, and the benefits it can bring.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Leave and Absence
  • A woman clutching her stomach


    Menstrual Leave

    In this guide, we'll discuss what menstrual leave is, the benefits of offering it, as well as how you can create your own menstrual leave policy.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Leave and Absence
  • A woman at her laptop and desk with a mug



    In this guide, we'll discuss what TOIL is, how it works, and the benefits it can bring to your business.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Working Time
Back to resource hub

Try Brainbox for free today

When AI meets 40 years of Peninsula expertise... you get instant, expert answers to your HR and Health & Safety questions

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.