Friday, June 19, 2015

Three Points to Consider When Implementing a Vaping Policy in the Workplace

Many employers are as intolerant and unforgiving of vaping in the office as cigarette smoking. One possible reason is that non-smokers tend to believe the general misconception that the secondhand smoke coming from an e-liquid atomizer still contains harmful chemicals. Another reason is that business owners and managers fail to comprehend how vaping works exactly and how much safer it is compared to smoking. In effect, electronic cigarettes closely mimic the experience of smoking real tobacco without the many dangers associated with it.

A man smokes an electronic cigarette at work. Photo Credit: TBEC Review

Marina A. Galatro, a senior human resources consultant for Willis Human Capital Practice in La Jolla, and Todd R. Wulffson, a business and labor expert who works with Carothers, DiSante and Freudenberger in Irvine, told The Press Enterprise that employers should consider the following points before implementing an anti-vaping workplace policy.
• Many use the devices to quit cigarette smoking by using liquids with decreasing amounts of nicotine. So should a vape pen user be in the same designated place as cigarette smokers for a permissible break?

• What’s in that vape pen tank? “It could be anything. ... We don’t want to police every puff on the e-cig,” Wulffson said.

• And not everyone in the office may be comfortable with the residual odor of flavored e-cigarette liquids, possibly raising allergy complaints.

The points they raised deserve a closer look because the answers can shed some light into the advantages of vaping and its many differences with smoking.

This pair of experts astutely pointed out these three possible issues that could arise from a company policy banning vaping in the workplace. Placing vaping practitioners in the same group as cigarette smokers puts them at a disadvantage because many of them turned to e-liquid vaporizers to end their nicotine addiction. Being unnecessarily exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke won't help them at all. In fact, it may even discourage them from patronizing e-liquid vaporizers and returning to their favorite brand of smokes.

Instead of prohibiting the use of a battery-powered atomizer in the workplace, employers are better off assisting their employees move towards their goal of quitting their nicotine addiction.

According to a research paper published in the June 2014 edition of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vaping is very effective in reducing the harmful effects of tobacco use and significantly minimizes the costs of maintaining a corporate health program for employees.
Currently recommended pharmaceutical smoking cessation protocols fail in about 90% of smokers who use them as directed, even under the best of study conditions, when results are measured at six to twelve months. E-cigarettes have not been attractive to non-smoking teens or adults. Limited numbers non-smokers have experimented with them, but hardly any have continued their use. The vast majority of e-cigarette use is by current smokers using them to cut down or quit cigarettes. E-cigarettes, even when used in no-smoking areas, pose no discernible risk to bystanders. Finally, addition of a THR component to current tobacco control programming will likely reduce costs by reducing the need for counseling and drugs.

The moisture-laden smoke that vapers exhale doesn’t smell as bad as ordinary cigarette smoke. It's made by heating up the e-juice rather than burning a paper-wrapped stick of dried tobacco leaves. According to a Gizmodo article, the base ingredient of an e-liquid is organic vegetable glycerin because it produces a lot of smoke when heated and delivers a pleasurable user experience without the accompanying health risks.

A separate area for vapers, such as a small lounge where they can go to socialize with like-minded people, has been suggested to employers. Meanwhile, smokers can go to another part of the building and be with their fellow tobacco lovers. Setting aside a small area outside the building or a private terrace is recommended so that the odor of burning tobacco and tar will quickly dissipate. In addition, vapers may want to consider other smoking alternatives, such as a vaporless e-liquid.

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