E-Cigarettes in the Workplace

Despite smoking being banned in enclosed workplaces for some time within England and Scotland, employers are now facing a fresh challenge in the form of the use of e-cigarettes within the workplace.


The Legal position

Action on smoking and health (ash.org.uk) reports that an estimated 2.1 million adults in Great Britain use electronic cigarettes; a trend that has increased exponentially in recent years. In 2010, 8.2% of smokers had tried electronic cigarettes. By 2014 this had risen to 50.6%.

As things stand e-cigarettes do not fall under the current smoking laws as they contain nicotine as opposed to tobacco. This leaves an employer free to decide whether to permit the use of e-cigarettes in their workplace.

However, there can be indirect consequences for employers and employees in relation to the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, as the below employment tribunal case illustrates.