Why E-Cigarettes Should be Promoted in Your Workplace
By Ashley Posted February 23, 2013
Just as the dust has settled and the majority of Americans are used to not smoking indoors, e-cigarettes have come along and re-ignited the debate. Now, workplaces are left wondering whether e-cigarettes should be allowed, and the decision might seem like a challenging one. After all, it’s so similar to smoking, it seems like all the same risks would apply, and it shouldn’t be allowed in the workplace for all the same reasons. Fortunately for vapers, this isn’t true, and there are numerous reasons that workplaces should allow their employees to use e-cigs at work.
Lost Working Time
Smoking cigarettes takes time. Based on an estimate of ten minutes per cigarette, it’s been calculated that the average smoker will be unproductive for around an hour per day as a result of smoking breaks. The Department of Labor state that all smoking breaks must be counted as paid work, although employers aren’t required to provide them. Many workplaces lose productivity to cigarette breaks, and long periods of illness are more likely because of health risks of smoking. E-cigarettes can be used indoors despite smoking bans, which means no more lost working hours.
Bigger Labor Pool
Some workplaces have decided to stop hiring smokers, and in 21 states (including Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas) they are permitted to do so. If a workplace doesn’t want to hire smokers, then they should encourage vaping to get access to a larger pool of talent. Switching to vaping appears to be effective in reducing tobacco use according to initial research, and this means workplace have more skilled workers to choose from. Some of the best candidates for a position may be smokers, and e-cigarettes make the perfect compromise.
If some of your staff members are smokers, leaving too much time between cigarette breaks could lead them to get irritable and snappy with colleagues. Nicotine is addictive, and the agitation that accompanies withdrawal isn’t conducive to a happy working environment. Allowing e-cigarettes is one way to keep these employees satisfied and prevent any disagreements that may arise from tightly-strung smokers in need of some nicotine.
No Damage and No Risk
The lack of a cigarette-like “side stream” and the fact that there are only a handful of chemicals (with excellent safety profiles) in e-cigarettes mean that they don’t cause damage to people in the same room as a user. They’re much safer than tobacco cigarettes because they don’t contain the glut of dangerous chemicals you’ll find in tobacco smoke. The vapor released is primarily water vapor. The user gets most of the vapor, and the remainder has the ingredients in such small quantities as to render it harmless. There are tobacco-specific nitrosamines present in electronic cigarettes, but in exponentially smaller quantities than a cigarette. The direct user is only exposed to the same quantities found in FDA-approved patches, so the amount released into the air is extremely negligible.
There are numerous benefits to promoting e-cigarettes in the workplace, from the boost in productivity and worker morale through to the more inclusive hiring policies. Employers who allow e-cigarettes aren’t putting anybody at risk, and their allowing their employees the freedom to enjoy nicotine while they work. It’s a mutually-beneficial idea, and should be widely taken on-board.