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Are You Ready for Vaping at Work?

Are You Ready for Vaping at Work?

Juul Labs, a $15 billion leader in the e-cigarette industry recently announced: no vaping at work. In December 2018, CEO Kevin Burns emailed employees that they were no longer permitted to use the organization’s products in the office.  Burns shared that vaping indoors was illegal under California law.

Approximately 10.8 million American adults are currently using e-cigarettes, and more than half of them are under 35 years old.” (Reuters 2018 study)

Vaping is everywhere.

And so are issues with it.

This week, Spirit Airlines banned a passenger for life for vaping on a flight.

American business’s response to this is all over the board. Some employers are linking vaping policies to no-smoking bans.  Other companies are creating specific e-cigarette guidelines to avoid policy murkiness. Googling “sample approaches” generates a few examples, such as washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter/View/5388/Sample-Language-for-Smoke-and-Vape-Free-Workplace-Policies-PDF

There is not much guidance for business owners broadly, and legislators are struggling to provide oversight in a piecemeal way. For instance, four states added restrictions on workplace vaping in 2019.  Across the country, only 17 states have general workplace bans on e-cigarettes.

While the ongoing law, policy, and debate continues, it is time to get ahead of this within your organization.

Employees are curious. 

It is critical to be clear in your company guidelines.  It’s likely that you have a smoke-free policy.  Here’s the catch: employees often don’t see vaping as smoking.  Does your ban include more than cigarettes? What about nicotine, tobacco, or anything that resembles smoking? What will you do with workers who argue vaping at work is permitted?

Having no organizational statement equates to permission.  Setting standards ensures your employees understand what is expected. 

If you need help on this topic or want to share your organizations’ practice, I would love to hear from you. Reach me at kelly@sarahbridges.com.

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