Manage E-Cigarettes in the Workplace

Key Points

  • The increased use of electronic cigarettes (also called e-cigarettes or e-cigs) presents many challenges for an employer when deciding if it will permit e-cigarette use in the workplace. If permitting cigarette use in the workplace, an employer must also decide how the use will be managed.
  • While there may be significant benefits to permitting employees to use e-cigarettes (e.g., helping employees reduce dependence on tobacco, increasing employee morale), there are also many risks (e.g., odors may be offensive to allergy sufferers; employee use of e-cigarettes may have potential negative health effects on co-workers; the e-cigarette's heating element presents a safety hazard; the presence of unknown health risks). Additionally, employers need to consider state and municipal laws with regard to e-cigarette use in the workplace.
  • Once an employer decides whether or not it will allow e-cigarette use at work, it should draft a written policy that effectively communicates its expectations. The policy should clearly address whether, where and when e-cigarette use is permissible and the employer's guidelines with regard to such use.