The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on employment laws and all aspects of workplace relations. In January of 2018, the organization released a guidance pertaining to vaping in the workplace.
Following this the IBVTA wrote to the Chief Executive of ACAS pointing out certain errors in the guidance, urging them to review and revise it. The vaping association suggested the ACAS refer to the Public Health England (PHE) framework advice for businesses and employers, the five key principles of which, are that organisations give consideration to the following;
- Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking,
- Ensure policies are informed by the evidence on health risks to bystanders,
- Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people,
- Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smoke-free and,
- Support compliance with smoke-free law and policies.
A year later, the IBVTA was pleased to announce that the ACAS acted on some of the recommendations, and updated their advice accordingly. The revised advice now includes the following:
- E-cigarettes fall outside the scope of smoke free legislation as the act of smoking requires a substance to be burnt. Therefore whether to allow employees to use them at work or not is up to their employer
- Some employees use E-cigarettes as part of a plan to stop smoking, so employers may want to support their use if this is the case.
- Preventing the use of E-cigarettes at work could make it harder for those who use them to stop smoking, particularly if they are required to smoke them in designated smoking areas together with cigarette smokers. Employers may want to consider organising a separate vaping areas in or near the workplace.
- An employer could allow staff to vape in the workplace, but should consider the needs of the business and the wider workforce. Where restrictions are placed on vaping, an employer should create a vaping area.