Using e-cigarettes at work

News emerged this week that the number of people who use electronic cigarettes in the UK has tripled over the past two years to an estimated 2.1 million*.

A question was recently raised by a member of staff about whether e-cigarettes, which the majority of people say they use to reduce smoking, can be used at work.

The simple answer is no. For the purposes of our No Smoking Policy, the practice of smoking includes all tobacco based products, as well as e-cigarettes, regardless of their contents.

As e-cigarettes are unregulated and have a great deal of variance in their chemical composition, the Trust considers their usage to be in line with all other smoking practice at this moment in time. This position will be reviewed however in line with guidance from relevant bodies.

The Trust has taken this position after reviewing available research from the British Medical Association, published March 2012. In summary, it states that:

  • e-cigarettes are not regulated as a tobacco product or as a medicine in the UK and there is no peer reviewed evidence that they are a safe and effective nicotine replacement therapy
  • the use of e-cigarettes may undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing the normalcy of cigarette use in public and workplaces
  • health professionals should not recommend the use of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aid or a lower risk option than continuing to smoke due to a lack of evidence of their safety and efficacy.

This means that the same rules apply to e-cigarettes as normal cigarettes. For clarification, this means:

  • no smoking on any Trust or any other NHS property (except in designated smoking areas)
  • no smoking within Trust buildings leased or owned (including garages)
  • no smoking in Trust vehicles, including lease cars
  • no smoking in any vehicle used to convey patients, other Trust employees or visitors
  • no smoking on Trust owned or leased land.

For more information, the Trust’s No Smoking Policy is available to view online.

*Charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) surveyed more than 12,000 adult smokers as part of this survey.

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