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. The regulation of e-cigarettes also varies by jurisdiction. This may leave 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 (the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also regulates e-cigarettes as a tobacco product);
- Effects on employee productivity; and
- Employees' potential health concerns and sensitivities.
Using XpertHR's various Tools and resources can help an employer decide how to address e-cigarettes in the workplace.
Employment Law Manual
Policies and Documents
- What are e-cigarettes?
- What is vaping?
- Do e-cigarettes contain nicotine?
- Are e-cigarettes considered a tobacco product?
- Are e-cigarettes an effective smoking-cessation tool?
- Is secondhand vapor from an e-cigarette unhealthy?
Considerations of E-Cigarettes in the Workplace
- What are the pros and cons of allowing e-cigarettes in the workplace?
- Do e-cigarettes cause any smells that might affect other employees in the workplace?
- If an employee gets sick from secondhand vapor from an e-cigarette and the employer permits vaping in the workplace, could the sickened employee successfully sue or get workers' compensation for the illness?
- Does an employer need to implement a workplace e-cigarette policy?
- Are there any federal or state laws regulating e-cigarettes in the workplace?
- Is e-cigarette use protected by state laws prohibiting discrimination against employees for engaging in legal off-duty activities?
- If an employer has a policy allowing vaping in the workplace and not smoking, how should it address smokers' complaints that the policy is unfair?
- May an employer ban e-cigarettes and vaping in the workplace?
- May an employer treat e-cigarette use like regular cigarette smoking?
- Is an employer required to reasonably accommodate an employee who claims to be addicted to nicotine by allowing the employee to vape at work?