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Electronic Cigarettes in the workplace

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With an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK using electronic cigarettes, many employers are now having to decide whether to allow them in the workplace or to ban them. Electronic cigarettes aren't included in the UK smoking ban so are legal to use anywhere, however a growing number of companies are banning staff and even customers from using them on their premises. This is leading to an increase in the number of stories appearing in the media of employees being dismissed for using electronic cigarettes in the workplace. Today it was reported that staff at Croydon's main landfill site are planning to strike in the lead-up to Christmas after a colleague was sacked for smoking an electronic cigarette. Trade union UNITE accused the site of wrongly sacking the electronic cigarette user who had worked at the site for seven years. The site stated that smoking electronic cigarettes was not allowed but this was part of a new company policy that had not yet been communicated to employees. Some employers are widening the scope of their drug and alcohol policies to include electronic cigarettes while others are creating a new set of rules relating to the use of electronic cigarettes The UK smoking ban includes cigarettes, pipes, shisha and hookah, cigars and herbal cigarettes. Under the act, smoking is referred to as tobacco and other substances in a lit form which are capable of being smoked. Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco and are not lit, so are not included under the act. One of the main reasons the act was introduced was to reduce exposure to second hand smoke. Some employers are treating electronic cigarettes in the same way they treat tobacco cigarettes and asking electronic cigarette users to use the devices in designated smoking areas. As electronic cigarette users are 'non-smokers', employers should provide staff with a smoke-free environment and failure to provide this can result in employees bringing grievances against employers or allowing them to challenge any disciplinary action taken against them for using electronic cigarettes outside of the designated smoking area. Many employees are using electronic cigarettes as a substitute to smoking and employers should try to support this and come to a compromise for reasonable use in the workplace. Using electronic cigarettes can increase productivity if staff members are allowed to use them while working instead of leaving their desk for a cigarette break. Clear policies on the use of electronic cigarettes in the workplace can avoid any vaping related issues. Litejoy Electronic Cigarettes

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