Minding Your Environment: Is It Legal to Be Vaping at Work?

Cigarette smoking has been banned in nearly every workplace. Laws prohibit smoking, not only by workers but by customers, too. These bans are due to the dangers of smoking and from second-hand smoke.

With vaping becoming popular as an alternative to cigarettes, employers and employees need to look at smoking laws. The big question is whether vaping should be treated the same way as cigarette smoking at the workplace. If employees are not certain whether or not they should be vaping at work, they probably shouldn’t be. But, their employers need to establish rules about vaping so there aren’t any questions. 

The rules that employers set forth about vaping should fall in line with local laws, employment laws, and the culture of the business. They should also take into consideration health risks, too. If employers want to be sure their employees are not vaping while on the job, leaders should be aware of what e-cigarettes and eLiquid look like. Some vapes do not look anything like a cigarette, so employees could get away with vaping on the sly. 

Here’s what you should know about whether it is legal or not to vape at work:

  1. Some states have already outlawed vaping at work. Before you choose to vape at work, you should see if your state has already prohibited vaping at work. Some states have banned it broadly, just like they banned smoking at the workplace. Other states have banned vaping at places where children spend their time, like daycare centers and schools.
  2. Local governments can also place bans on vaping at work.  If your state hasn’t banned vaping at the workplace, then your local municipality may have. Local ordinances can be put in place about vaping at work. When people violate these bans, they usually receive hefty fines. You could also get into trouble at work, which could result in being fired.
  3. The Americans with Disability Act can affect vaping at work. The jury is still out on the health concerns about vaping. But, what is certain is that vaping often has an aroma attached to it. Some vape juices have heavy fragrances. Since some people have serious sensitivities to smells, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people who have issues with smells. Since the workplace has to comply with the ADA, vaping might be prohibited to comply with employee requests regarding odors at work.
  4. Better to vape at work or take vape breaks? When employers set their policies for vaping, they should consider the culture of the workplace. In some workplaces, vaping might be appropriate and some employers might want to consider whether it is better to let an employee vape in his workplace rather than take time off for a smoke break.
  5. Unknownn health concerns The big question is the unknown. Since no one yet knows what vaping does in the long run, employers seem to be safer prohibiting it rather than risking any health problems for their employees. When employees aren’t at work, they can do what they want. But, on company time, it is wise for employers to set rules that protect employee health and safety.


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