The other day, I got an email from a friend telling me he’s been hit with a disciplinary hearing at work. Apparently, he needs to go to productivity workshops… listen to lectures on caring about other people’s health and smoke-free policies…and never, ever whip out his vape pen at work again.
Here’s the thing, though…
A lot of us vapers have been working from home for the last two years. And a lot of former cigarette smokers now use vapes. Coming back to the office – to those enclosed workplaces – will be an adjustment as a lot of those places now ban vaping.
This friend? He used to vape all the time in his office. Now, that’s off-limits because of new local laws.
So before you take out your vape pen at a place of work, ask yourself – how does my employer view vaping? Is there a specific vaping policy up now? Or a workplace vaping prohibition I need to know about? Is vaping at my place of work now viewed as cigarette smoking?
Is Vaping in the Workplace Prohibited?
Vaping in the workplace can be prohibited, however federal law doesn’t specifically state that vaping must or should be banned.
Of course, states and cities can ban vaping at work, specifically indoors. The logic behind it is the fact that vaping in some states is equated with traditional smoking. To them, it’s all the same as long as there is nicotine involved.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 states have banned vaping in indoor workplaces. Some of these states are Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, California, Vermont, North Dakota, and New Jersey.
In addition, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico also limit vaping in the workplace (indoor).
These districts have a straightforward smoke-free indoor air law which contains a ban on any type of vaping in any place where… you guessed it… smoking is also restricted. Most common places beside the workspace are restaurants, bars, and schools. Note that these regulations are focused on indoors, suggesting you can’t vape at your desk, but if your employer made a dedicated space or open area where you can vape then you are good to go.
And while e-cigarette use has been proven to be a better alternative in regard to health, combustible cigarettes have been equalised with them… despite study after study and research galore proving that this shouldn’t be the case.
But Not All States Prohibit Vaping at Work
However, excluding the states I mentioned, the law doesn’t clearly state wheater or not vaping is prohibited in the indoor workplace. Some cities and local governments do hold the right to pass laws specifically handling vaping, and e-cigarettes, and banning their use inside the workspace. As of today, a lot of local governments have opted to do just that.
Should You Ever Vape at Work?
This question is being asked by many current e-cigarette users, but I have a better one… Can you? Of course, you should, if the company allows it, that is. To be frank, it’s less likely you will be forced to avoid using electronic cigarettes as such. If you are new at your job or new to vaping as it is, your colleagues will make sure to point you to the designated area where vaping, and smoking is allowed.
In most cases, vaping will be incorporated in your lunch or coffee break, or if the business owner lets you, a quick puff or two to clear your thoughts.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, working at vape shops, hookah bars, public places or anywhere where customers are expected to vape and are allowed to do it. In these cases, it’s complementary to vape as an employee – enables you to have a better sales pitch, and makes you immediately approachable, and knowledgeable.
Still, an overwhelming majority of e-cigarette users refrain from vaping around other people who mind it. It’s not so much about the concern for the health of other people as it is about being polite. Vaping has no negative effects, but you’re often better off just moving aside than trying to explain that to a staff member who’s screaming at you to move to a smoking area before they request legal counsel.
Vaping at Work Will Depend on Company Policy
In the end, whether you vape at work depends on your company policy.
If your company policy specifically bans vaping indoors, there’s not much you can do about it. It’s the same as smoking, and if you violate this rule, you risk disciplinary action.
This could involve reprimands, penalties, and a whole lot of other HR-related stuff.
Can You Be Fired for Vaping at Work?
Yes, of course.
If your employer has a strict policy against using electronic nicotine delivery systems in the workplace or consuming any other tobacco products (read smoking traditional cigarettes) in the workplace, by doing it you are breaking the rule as any other, and with that, you are in direct violation of the contract that was signed when you started your job.
Even if the vaping is allowed, but only in designated areas, you are expected to follow them and vape where that is allowed.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there will automatically be some kind of disciplinary action. Most companies have their own process of handling rule-breaking situations, and I do believe if it’s your first transgression you’ll just get a slap on the writs.
But, don’t doubt for a second it hasn’t been noted somewhere. Breaking the rules will eventually get you fired And might require you to turn in your 15 days; notice.
Also – don’t try to be sneaky about it. Lots of places now have vape detectors that will pick up on the tiniest of vape particles!
Verdict – It’s Not Worth the Risk
The conclusion is pretty simple – don’t risk it for the biscuit.
There will be time and place when you’ll be able to enjoy every bit of your new flavor, device, or anything that makes your setup special. Unless you can get it verified for a fact that the use of e-cigarette products is okay with your company, there’s no use in insisting on it. Even if you can get away with it, other workers might report you so you’ll in heaps of trouble.
But we are all adults here and can restrain ourselves from breaking the rules.
I mean, in the end, the job you have provides for all your vaping gear.
If you don’t agree… let me point you in the direction of this little vape product right here…