• "Vaping" in the Workplace: Anywhere I Want?
  • December 16, 2013
  • Law Firm: Barley Snyder - Lancaster Office
  • I have received several inquiries in the past few weeks about Vaping in the workplace. Vaping is a term used to describe the use of Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes”.

    It appears that Vaping is increasing in popularity. The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association estimates total retail and online sales will hit $1.7B by the end of the year.

    Vaping devices [E-cigarettes] use small batteries to heat a flavored liquid until it produces a vapor. The liquid may contain varying levels of a nicotine kick, from zero (flavor only) up to 24 mg, but no tobacco smoke is produced. They also come in a variety of flavors which can give off a candy-store scent and includes flavors like chocolate, peaches-and-cream, butterscotch, and many, many other scents. One website advertises over 225 flavors!

    In April 2011 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products under the federal law granting the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products.

    Unfortunately, despite the FDA’s bold announcement over two years ago, it has not yet regulated e-cigarettes as tobacco products, and has been trying to force this political hot-potato to regulate electronic cigarettes on the lap of state and local governments. So far, 22 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone 18 and younger and very recently, attorneys general from 41 states made a joint request to the FDA to promptly issue a new set of rules governing the sale of e-cigarettes.

    E-cigarettes produce a vapor of undetermined and potentially harmful substances, which may appear similar to the smoke emitted by traditional tobacco products. After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the FDA determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The FDA’s testing also suggested that “quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent.”

    In conclusion, I think E-cigarettes are an aide to help smokers quit smoking; however, if the employee wants to use these nicotine delivery devices then s/he should do so in designated smoking areas only. If you allow this tobacco product in the workplace I am certain you will offend many non-smokers - who will likely complain about the candy store smells - as well as snuff and tobacco chewers who will want similar privileges.