Published on July 20th, 2016 | by Jimmy Hafrey
If there was ever any confusion about whether or not a government agency would ever come forward to see vaping as a serious alternative to vaping, Public Health England will put that to rest.
Earlier this month, Public Health England released a new framework advice for UK employers, encouraging them to build a support system for employees who vape. The agency, which is an executive branch of the Department of Health in the UK, has listed various suggestions for businesses to aid their employees in vaping on their website.
The Daily Mail summarized the advice found in the report, which was created as a guide in implementing evidence-based policies in the workplace. Most of the suggestions outlined in the article in accordance with what vapers have found, in their own daily personal lives, to be most helpful with smoking cessation efforts. While the suggestions are not enforceable, it would go a long way to making sure that employees are happy and focused while at work.
The report focuses on a few key issues, the main issue being the advice for employers to refrain from referring to vaping with smoking terminology. The agency also advises that employers make it clear to their employees that they understand that there is a difference between smoking and vaping. This distinction is sorely needed in the workplace, and the report takes considerable effort to get this point across.
Another key issue is that vapers should be given a special area at work in which to vape. Forcing vapers to go outside with smokers undermines that vaper’s motivation to quit smoking, and so PHE has advised that vape break rooms be made available within an office or place of work. Along with this advisement comes the suggestion that vapers who are actively trying to quit smoking be given extra breaks for their habit as they lower the amount of nicotine in their system.
A surprising feature of the report for many people is the PHE’s suggestion that employers make vaping a more convenient option for employees who smoke. By offering vape options at work, such as vape break rooms and extra breaks, employers are showing their workers that they care about their well-being and are encouraging them to quit smoking.
The report comes three months after PHE first released their findings that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes, an issue we’ve covered here before. Since then, the agency has been busy formulating this report, completely abandoning the precautionary principle it had held towards vaping since the alternative has gone mainstream.
Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “The evidence is clear that vaping is much less harmful than smoking and that e-cigarettes are helping many smokers to quit. This new framework will encourage organisations to consider both the benefits and the risks when developing their own policies on e-cigarettes.”
The aim of PHE’s report is to share guidelines with ill-informed employers that have placed vaping in the same space as smoking and therefore have imposed the same strict rules that come with smoking. It is hoped that with the release of the report, employers will begin to see the benefits of vaping and will implement some of the suggestion PHE has made into their workplaces.
The agency also states that vaping, while beneficial for employees, can irritate people with respiratory conditions like asthma. The report reflects this issue and suggests that a vaping area is set up away from break rooms and the work area to ensure no one is bothered by the vapor who could have a reaction to it.
PHE also suggests that vaping should only be banned in schools, hospitals and other workplaces where children are present. All other workplaces should have vaping policies designed to benefit employees. This ensures that smokers who are trying to quit will have a better chance at their goal, as their workplace would now support their choice to vape as an alternative to smoking.
It is now estimated that nearly three million people in the UK vape, with the vast majority of them being former smokers or smokers who are trying to quit. PHE has also found that very few young people, such as teenagers, are taking up the habit. Vaping is the country’s most popular method for quitting smoking and is fast developing a body of scientific evidence that shows it is effective in getting people to quit smoking.
What do you think of a leading health agency in the UK creating a report telling bosses to support vaping among their employees? Do you hope something like this might happen in America? Tell us in the comments below and let’s start a conversation about how vaping can improve America’s workplaces.