Employee vaping at work

On 16 July 2019, a US company called, Ignite launched its UK sales of cannabidiol (or CBD), a legal bi-product of Cannabis, which can be used in electronic cigarettes. With increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes or “vaping” and the expectation that CBD will only increase its popularity, employers are advised to decide sooner rather than later whether to allow its staff to vape in the workplace.

The current law

Smoking in workplaces in England has been prohibited since 1 July 2007 under the Health Act 2006 (HA 2006). The scope of the smoking ban is limited to smoking tobacco or smoking any other substance or being in possession of lit tobacco or any other lit substance in a form that could be smoked.

Smoking is banned where a premise is used as a place of work by more than one person or is used as a place of work where members of the public might attend to seek or receive goods or services from those working there. However, the ban only affects these premises to the extent to which they are enclosed or substantially enclosed (which means those which have a roof or ceiling and are at least 50% surrounded by walls).

The use of electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, which are designed to simulate the act of smoking, release nicotine but do not contain tobacco. Due to the fact that they do not contain any combustible material that is actually smoked means that they are almost certainly not covered by the statutory smoking ban. This appeared to be confirmed by the House of Commons briefly paper: Smoking in public places, that was published in March 2015.

Employers who wish to ban vaping in the workplace should introduce a work rule to this effect. This can be done by notifying staff of a free-standing rule or better still as part of their no-smoking policy. Public Health England (PHE) has stated that as a result of the health benefits of vaping as opposed to smoking, employers should not routinely ban it in the workplace. However, it also acknowledges that there may be factors that count against allowing it including commercial considerations, professional etiquette and the possible effects of vapour on asthma sufferers.

Employers should therefore consider their position carefully and seek to consult with their employees before permitting staff to vape at work, especially with the new risk of reputational damage to the business, if they allow staff to vape CBD, due to its connection to the illegal drug, Cannabis.

Free No smoking policy

For further information or advice on complying with your legal obligations or to obtain a FREE and updated no smoking policy, call Henry Doswell of Doswell Law Solicitors on 01233 722942. Alternatively, email Henry at info@doswell-law.com

Disclaimer: Whilst every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary contained in this blog accurate and up to date, Henry Doswell takes no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it. The information and commentary in this blog does not constitute legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter.