These days you can’t drive by a strip mall without seeing a retailer that sells what is now becoming known as E-Cigarettes. They come in many forms but the general concept is that it is an electronic device that mimics the look and sensation of smoking a real cigarette by vaporizing nicotine which the “smoker” then inhales. It does produce a vapor when the smoker exhales just like the real thing.
People who use the e-cigarettes have many reasons why they use them, it mimics real smoking but is less dangerous to their health, second-hand “vapors” from them are less dangerous, but the topmost reason is that it is a tool to help them quit smoking altogether.
Currently, e-cigarettes are not illegal and/or regulated in most states. However, effective April 2014, the City of Chicago, Illinois, will ban e-cigarettes from being used in most public places. In addition, Chicago will require retailers to put them behind their counter just like the real thing.
Retailers of E-Cigarettes should also be aware that there may be more comprehensive regulations coming out soon from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These regulations may have a great impact on this rapidly growing industry.
When considering allowing the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, employers should consider the pros and cons. On the pro side, they can be a tool to help smokers quit. Also, if they are allowed to smoke at their workstations, it would eliminate lost productivity for “smoke breaks.” However, it is still unclear whether or not the second-hand vapors released from the e-cigarettes could be dangerous to others. In addition, even if the vapors are safe they could still be a nuisance to co-workers or cause morale issues with smokers of real cigarettes.
In the meantime, if an employer does not want e-cigarettes used in the workplace or wants to modify their use, all that is needed is a slight modification to the No-Smoking Policy to include e-cigarettes. An employer can limit where e-cigarettes can be used or ban them altogether from the workplace just like the real thing.
If you need more information or want guidance for modifying or creating a No-Smoking Policy, please contact us.
Written By and © : Kerry Rieder-McLaughlin, Human Resources Consultant
NOTE: This publication should not be regarded as legal advice or legal opinion. The content is intended for general informational purposes only. If you have any concerns regarding anything in this publication you may contact your own attorney or our law office at 630-230-8434, website www.ma-lawpc.com.