In a drive to make e-cigarettes more acceptable at places of work in Britain – and given separate rules to smoking – a group of MPs (Members of Parliament) have called for new policies to be drawn up to help address common “misunderstandings” about the practice.
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (APPGV) agreed designated vaping areas inside offices should be considered along with employers allowing e-cigarette use in all outside areas unless there is a legitimate safety or professional reason not to, according to UK news agency Press Association.
There should also be guidelines for the “reasonable vaping etiquette expected from vapers”.
In the UK, where vaping is banned in train stations, restaurants and airports and is routinely banned in offices and outside hospitals, it was also suggested Parliament should lead the way for change.
APPGV chairman Mark Pawsey said of the common misunderstanding that passive vaping is as harmful as breathing in cigarette smoke: “Indeed, this lack of understanding was very evident in Parliament itself, a place many will look to for an example.
“There are only two designated vaping locations, and despite being a member for eight years, I still have no idea where either of these locations are.”
Both sites are outside and “given the size of the Parliamentary Estate could be a significant distance away from an employee or visitors’ location,” the MPs stated.
The APPGV has now created a new vaping policy for the Parliamentary Estate which is to be added into the staff handbook.
It also called on Public Health England (PHE), which earlier this year published a report saying vaping was 95 per cent safer than smoking, to expand its vaping awareness programme.
Acas adviser Tom Neil said: “E-cigarettes or vaping is not covered by the current law that applies to smoking within workplaces. So employers have the freedom to decide what policies to put in place around vaping at work.
“Businesses could decide to ban the activity altogether or to introduce areas where vaping may be allowed.
“If employers decide to introduce a new policy around vaping, then our advice is to consult with employees or their representatives first to agree a clear policy at work.”