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Ban e-cigarettes before your employees' health and safety goes up in smoke!

by , 30 January 2013
'E-cigarettes are harmless and an easy way to stop smoking.' It's a common statement but it's not true. Companies that sell e-cigarettes will soon have to apply for a licence to do so in the UK as there's still a danger of addiction in smoking them. All the more reason to ban them in your workplace, especially as the Tobacco Products Control Act (TPCA) offers more restrictions for smoking in public places and designated smoking areas. Here's why ...

E-cigarettesare promoted as 'life-saving' and they're becoming increasingly popular. 
 
Now, e-cigarette companies in the UK are legally required to apply for a licence if they intend to market the device as a medicinal 'quit smoking' product.
 
E-cigarettes don't contain tobacco but they do still pose a health risk
 
E-cigarettes definitely pose a lower health risk than regular cigarettes, but they still pose a 'potential danger to customers', the UK's former health minister Simon Burns said on the International Business Times website. 
 
There could be 'great variability in the content, both in the amount of nicotine present and also in relation to other potentially toxic substances', Burns explained.
 
Added to this, claims that the liquid nicotine vapour inhaled and exhaled is harmless, and that nicotine is mildly addictive but does not pose a health hazard are misleading, says the CancerResearchUK website.
 
Despite this, e-cigarettes are still proving a popular alternative to regular cigarettes, with 650,000 smokers switching to the devices last year in the UK alone.
 
And they're popping up in South African workplaces now too. 
 
But should your workplace allow e-cigarettesmoking?
 
Treat e-cigarettes the same way you would any smoking products
With the new regulations to the Tobacco Products Control Act (TPCA), there are more restrictions for smoking in public places and designated smoking areas.
 
But'while e-cigarettes don't contain any tobacco, they don't fall under the South African Tobacco Products Control Act', says the Health-e website.
 
So you don't have to ban e-cigarettes in the workplace by law, but that doesn't mean they're safe.
 
From a management point of view, 'you can't allow some customers the 'action' and refuse others the same 'action'', adds the Health and Safety Bulletin. 
 
'Smoking is smoking', even if there are lesser health risks associated to the electric cigarette, the Health and Safety Bulletin explains.  
 
Banning all smoking products, including e-cigarettes, is the easiest way to protect your employees' health and safety when it comes to smoking in the office.
 
Discover all you need to know about the smoking laws, and get a sample smoking policy in your copy of the Health and Safety Advisor.
 
Not yet a subscriber? Click here and we'll send you the Health and Safety Advisor with a 90-day money back guarantee. 
 

source: Ergonomics: Your 3 legal obligations
 
 
 

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