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Vaping in the Workplace

It has been some time since England followed the rest of the United Kingdom in banning smoking in indoor workplaces. This was ten years ago in July 2007, but as with many rules and regulations something happens to attempt to bend the rules.

The introduction of the electronic cigarette asked new questions – is it smoking or is it vaping? If it is vaping should this be allowed inside of the workplace?

E-cigarettes are not covered by UK smoke free legislation because they are not lit, and no burning takes place. An employee could argue if they are vaping or using an e-cigarette that they are not smoking in the eyes of the law.

Vaping has been tested via the employment tribunal system in Insley v Accent Catering. Ms Insley worked as a catering assistant at a school, and was seen vaping by the head teacher. Consequently, Ms Insley was invited to a disciplinary hearing, but resigned before this happened. This was challenged via an employment tribunal. The employment tribunal held that although the employer had ‘reasonable and proper cause’ for its actions it was not clear that the employee had breached any policies.

There is a clear learning point, and this is to ensure that the use of e-cigarettes is covered within policy documentation. Thus, being part of an employee’s terms/conditions of employment.

For further advice, you can contact us at Atom HR for peace of mind.




Ivan Spibey

About Ivan Spibey

As an HR Consultant, Ivan has worked with businesses of all types and sizes. Clients include retail, logistics, transport, engineering, accountants and charities, amongst others.