Authors: Ashley Shaw, Beth Zoller and Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editors

The use of e-cigarettes (i.e., electronic, vapor-based cigarettes that are sometimes called e-cigs) is growing in the US. However, scientific research has not fully determined the health effects, if any, of these devices. This leaves an employer with a tough decision as to how it should address e-cigarette use, if at all. For example, should an employer include these devices in its current smoke-free policy? Should it allow employees to freely smoke these devices in the workplace?

An employer should consider various factors in making this decision. These include state and municipal regulations on the subject (currently there are no federal laws on e-cigarettes, though a court case granted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the right to regulate them as a tobacco product); effects on employee productivity - if workers were allowed to use e-cigs while working, they would likely take less smoke breaks; and other employees' potential health concerns and intolerances based on unpleasant workplace smells.

Using XpertHR's various Tools and resources can help an employer decide how to handle e-cigarettes in the workplace.


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Considerations of E-Cigarettes in the Workplace