UK MPs Say Workplaces and Public Spaces Should Become “Vape Friendly” And Say Fears About So Called Passive Vaping Are Unfounded
Vaping should be allowed in the workplace and most public spaces indoor and out according to a powerful group of UK MPs.
They also made it very clear there’s absolutely no proof the health of passers by can be affected by vapour – blowing the passive vaping myth out of the water once again.
Indeed APPG chair Mark Pawsey MP goes to great lengths attempting to finally clear this sticky issue up. In the introduction he writes:
One of the main issues we encountered was a perception that passive vaping or second-hand vaping is harmful to non-vapers in the vicinity.
There is no evidence that this is the case and we have set out the evidence available in this area later in the report.
I was pleased to note that the recent Science and Technology Committee Report into E-Cigarettes also supported this conclusion.
However, there remains a perception amongst the public that passive vaping is as harmful as passive smoking and it is crucial for guidance in this area. Indeed, public vaping bans probably perpetuate this perception; after all why ban it if it is relatively harmless.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping [APPG] launched its new policy yesterday and says the House of Commons – which has only two outside vaping allowed areas – should set an example and become more vape friendly.
The policy has been welcomed by vape advocacy groups and organizations including the New Nicotine Alliance who called it a “timely and well-researched document” going a long way to dispel myths around vaping including the risk to passers by. The document may be added to the Parliamentary staff handbook – however it will still need to be considered by various Government committees before it is accepted.
The suggested policy comes as more and more hospitals – public spaces – employers and councils such as Dundee – ban workers from vaping even outside and during work hours.
There’s 5 key points the new policy is calling for:
- Workplace vaping policies should balance the needs of vapers and smokers looking to switch with those of non-vapers.
- Employers should have a workplace policy which permits vaping outdoors and makes provision for easily-accessible indoor vaping areas.
- The Parliamentary Estate must lead the way and act as an example to other workplaces and public places by becoming vape friendly.
- Public Health England should work to educate employers and owners of public places of the positive public health potential of vaping.
- Vapers should vape in a responsible way
No issues with either of those at all and they pretty much chime with my article Changing Those UK Pub Vape Bans One Bar At A Time Through “Considerate Vaping” – the key point I made back then being a need for a kind of vaping etiquette or what the NNA calls considerate vaping.
In other words whilst it’s great to chuck clouds – if you are allowed to vape at work or in a public space maybe tone it down a little by using either an MTL device or taking smaller draws and holding the vapour in a little longer…you’ll be surprised how that lessens the amount of cloudage – give it a try 😉
Positive Reactions To Calls To Make Vaping More Publicly Acceptable
Public Health England is a great supporter of vaping and e-cigarettes – but will have its work cut out convincing employers. Especially it seems local councils to follow the policy should it be accepted.
Vaping is still a great unknown to many and more than a little bewildering given the sheer amount of fake news scare stories we’ve all seen and are still seeing. But if we are to get e-cigs and vaping firmly accepted in the public’s eye then this is indeed an important task that PHE should put its formidable weight and influence behind.
The document has also been welcomed by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service [ACAS]. This as you may know is an organization that among other things acts as an arbitrator between employers and employers on a whole host of issues.
Spokesman Tom Neil had a message for the UK’s bosses:
E-cigarettes or vaping is not covered by the current law that applies to smoking within workplaces. So employers have the freedom to decide what policies to put in place around vaping at work.
Businesses could decide to ban the activity altogether or to introduce areas where vaping may be allowed.
If employers decide to introduce a new policy around vaping, then our advice is to consult with employees or their representatives first to agree a clear policy at work.
.@MarkPawsey being presented with a “considerate vaping welcome” sign by @Twigolet, in anticipation of seeing this on his office wall, when the report recommendations get adopted! #appgvaping #vaping #workplace #parliament pic.twitter.com/JRYBF7KNsR
— UKVIA (@Vaping_Industry) November 20, 2018
Speaking at the launch APPGV chairman Mark Pawsey MP said there was a definite misunderstanding in the public eye about all things vape adding:
…this lack of understanding was very evident in Parliament itself, a place many will look to for an example. There are only two designated vaping locations, and despite being a member for eight years, I still have no idea where either of these locations are.
Welcoming the new policy chair of the NNA Sarah Jakes said:
There are currently 3.2 million vapers in the UK, 1.7 million of whom have quit smoking entirely using e-cigarettes.
This has contributed to the rate of smoking prevalence plummeting, but many smokers are still hesitant due to misperceptions surrounding vaping. More liberal workplace policies can have the dual benefit of correcting these misperceptions while also providing a more encouraging environment for vapers to prevent relapse, as well as for smokers considering vaping instead.
Public vaping bans give the impression that vaping is as harmful as smoking, which is entirely untrue.
In fact, vaping is believed to be at least 95% safer than smoking and the government’s stop smoking campaigns recommend e-cigarettes as a means to quit. It is daft that on the one hand smokers are being encouraged to vape instead, only to then be told they are banned from vaping just about everywhere.
The Parliamentary estate becoming vape-friendly would send a strong message to other employers and venue owners that vapers should be encouraged, not harassed, and would help to educate the public that vapers are simply former smokers doing something that is good for their health.</span
Once again wise words from Sarah and as I always say its’ good to have someone like her on her side and taking the fight for the right to vape direct to the politicians…are you watching America?
UKVIA Stepping Up Once Again
The launch was hosted by the UK Vaping Industry Association [UKVIA] who really are becoming the ‘movers and shakers’ in the UK e-cigarette lobby and also include Big Tobacco and Big Pharma companies in their impressive membership.
Like I said a while ago harm reduction makes for strange bedfellows these days however in this case the UKVIA has once again stepped up and seem to be getting things done alongside the NNA – powerful allies indeed.
There’s no getting away from it and despite this only being a proposal – the UK is still a beacon of reason in the world of vaping. We might think we have it bad with the ridiculous TPD and TRPR EU ordered legislation however just cast your eyes to America and Australia for instance. The majority of politicians over there are scared to death of the vape and would rather collect more cash by banning e-cigs and taxing lit tobacco to the hilt.
Me liking UK politicians and lobby groups?
Like I said this harm reduction malarkey makes for strange bedfellows 😉
Should this policy be adopted I will of course let you know.
On to another study saying vaping at work should be allowed..
New Vape Research Plans to Look At Vaping at Work
More research looks into the argument of whether vapers be allowed to vape in the workplace.
A new study from Leicester University and funded by Cancer Research UK plans to find out.
This comes a year after Public Health England released a report urging employers NOT to force vapers into designated smoking areas.
This paper from Public Health England (PHE) goes further and says that managers of public spaces operating a strict ‘smoke free zone’ – including NHS properties and the workplace – should:
“Seek to develop approaches to e-cigarettes that support smoke-free sites…”
In other words, by all means, ban smoking in public but do not lump the vapers into the same category.
No Laws to Ban Vaping
Pointing out the legal issues around banning smoking the report says categorically there is NO current law available to ban vaping anywhere:
“E-cigarette use, known as vaping, is not covered by smoke-free legislation. E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco and do not create smoke…”
PHE says it’s ambition is to create a smoke-free generation in the UK by 2025 and recognizes vaping will go a long way to help that aim adding that it was important to create an environment where vaping and e-cigarettes are a route out of smoking.
Given the current cost to the tax payer, to pick up the pieces of smoke related health issues is currently around £14 billion it has to be in everyone’s interest to support vaping every single way they can – including in the workplace.
Smoking Ban Backfires?
Whilst the ban on smoking in places such as pubs has helped cut down the numbers of smokers, the report is concerned that forcing vapers onto the streets so to speak has led to many being tempted back into smoking.
Far from keeping smoking out of the public eye, the PHE says:
“While smoke-free law protects people from the harm of secondhand smoke, forcing smokers outdoors has increased public visibility of smoking, including to children and young people. Having a more enabling approach to vaping can mitigate this and help make smoking less of a social norm.”
Pointing out there is no evidence of harm to health by the so-called ‘passive vaping’ PHE recommends a ‘vaping etiquette’ should be introduced in public spaces – such as minimizing the amount of vapour – sorry cloud chasers but I have to agree with that one.
I’m lucky that my local pub allows vaping however even I get a bit ticked off when billows of cloud – no matter how nice it smells – covers all and sundry in a Victorian smog.
At home and outside yes – but in public, you’re just giving ‘them’ the argument that vapers are indeed a ‘public nuisance’.
Turn that mod down in the boozer or get a separate mouth to lung tank for vaping in public!
The Study from Leicester University and funded by Cancer Research UK.
Those of us in the know understand there’s little if any truth to the myth of so called passive vaping so surely there really shouldn’t be a problem?
So long that is in an enclosed space like an office you’re not sat there chucking clouds from a 300watt monster mod with a your TFV8 Cloud Beast King on top!
And don’t forget there is absolutely NOTHING in the law to stop you from vaping wherever and whenever you like as one of the researchers – Dr Charlotte Smith points out:
E-cigarette usage is potentially the most significant grass roots shift in public health behaviours over the last century, and whilst recent EU legislation has introduced a range of measures aimed at restricting the sale, marketing, advertising, packaging, and supply of e-cigarette devices and consumables, in the UK there are no statutory restrictions on vaping in the workplace or other public places.
I’m one of the lucky ones as I work alone and at home so I have no worries about snooty co-workers moaning about my clouds.
Plenty of Fish…Smells
Though it has to be said in one of my local pubs the barmaids do like me chuffing away on a fruity flavoured e-liquid as it masks the smell of gastro fish lunches in there – yuk!
I have to say right now they should introduce a designated fish dinner area in pubs and fill them with with extraction fans – that smell is disgusting 😉
Anyway enough about fish.
The point is most of us that vape do so sensibly in public and let’s face it the aromas we leave in our wake are on the whole sweet and pleasant smelling.
Back to the pub and I sit by an open window and chuck my sweet smelling clouds out – however the smokers stand in front of the window and their smoke blows in – annoying or what!
I never knew just how nasty that smell was and mixed with the remnants of a fried fish lunch the atmosphere soon becomes unpleasant to say the least – until that is, I’m asked to go into vaping overdrive and things get a little more fresh ‘n fruity – the things I do for a free pint and a smile 😉
It’s the same in the workplace – no not the fish – the blowback from the smokers.
Though I did once sit next to a fellow journalist who every single morning opened up a tub of taramasalata [a nasty mush of fish and stuff] that after a night on the beer [most nights back then] used to make my stomach heave lol.
Now I’m no smell snob but the last time I worked in a ‘proper job’ and just like in the pub the tobacco smoke would get in via windows and doors and you had to run a gauntlet of fug to get through the front door.
And the ‘smoking monitor’ never emptied the bloody bin – grrr…
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes…Your Lungs and on Your Clothes
Not only that I had my haircut last week and the barber absolutely reeked of fags – I nearly puked when he was trimming the new [rather grey] beard I’m currently sporting [snap back cap soon lol].
So the smell of smoke clings to the smokers which hangs around the office or enclosed space meaning it’s not only a bad atmosphere but given the science behind passive smoking – it can be dangerous too.
AND you have to feel for the none smokers who look up from their work to watch the smokers traipse outside every 40minutes or less for a ‘smoke break’.
It’s almost as if it’s their God given right to do that – with what I know now a smoke break should be changed to a ‘life break’ as that’s what they’re doing every time they light up – breaking off a little more of their life!
But hey I’m all for choices based on the facts so ‘smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em’ but don’t lump vapers in with the same crowd and force us into the same designated smoking spots.
And hang on a minute – if a vaper is allowed to vape at their desk or inside whilst at work just think of the time saved – meaning more productivity – from him or her having to pop out every half an hour for a toot – time and motion men will love that saving!
I can hear thousands of vapers groaning at that idea – I mean who doesn’t like a quick ten minutes out of the workplace!
And that brings me nicely onto this new study that for once I am actually quite looking forward to seeing the results of.
The study is entitled: The Regulation of E-Cigarettes in and Around Organisational Lives – those boffins do like to complicate things with grand titles don’t they!
Cancer Research UK has teamed up with researchers from Leicester University – including Professor Jason Hughes the guy behind the study into kids and vaping thanks to a quarter of a million pound grant from – yup – Cancer Research UK.
He’s joined by Dr Charlotte Smith, of the University of Leicester’s School of Business and Dr Grace Sykes from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology.
Compared to the funding for the kids and vaping study this one seems small fry coming in at just £26,000 – not sure if that means kids lives are more valuable than adult lives but hey I mustn’t be snippy.
What I do like is the main crux of the study which for once focuses on whether making vapers stand with smokers in designated areas could have dire consequences.
A spokesman for the study said:
The research will explore the complexities of regulating e-cigarettes in non-statutory policies. For example, if e-cigarettes are too heavily regulated in the workplace, it may paradoxically encourage users to move back to combustible tobacco.
I’m not 100% sure that vapers standing with smokers encourages those vaping to switch back to the fags or if the e-cig users create ‘vape converts’.
Though over the years and in particular this summer – I have had many detailed conversations with smokers and indeed handed over a few of the starter kits I’ve reviewed in the past – every little helps to save a smoker!
However, the mere fact that those of us that vape have to breath the same fetid tobacco fumes are having our health put at risk after we’ve made a positive health choice.
I mean I have to go outside in some pubs in town to vape and at times have had to walk well away from the smokers which I guess makes me look like a snob.
But hey I don’t want to breathe that shit nor smell of it – though on the plus side it definitely never occurs to me to light one up!
Professor Hughes said:
If vapers are pushed ‘on to the doorstep’ alongside smokers, what are the implications for how they think about vaping? Might, for example, those users who see it as a means of smoking cessation be encouraged instead to think about it as ‘just another’ means of recreational nicotine use?
The main thrust of the study hopes to:
…reduce systemic confusion on vaping practice and consider how non-statutory policies inform, as well as become informed by notions of relative risk. It will adopt a mixed-methods, multi-level study of vapers, non-vapers and dual user vaper/smokers in an array of UK organizations and seeks to develop guidelines for workplace vaping policies.
Welcoming the research Professor Linda Bauld from Cancer Research UK said:
E-cigarettes are still a relatively new product but the evidence so far shows that they are far safer than tobacco. Cancer Research UK continues to invest in research to find out more about their potential to help smokers ditch tobacco for good, and also identify the challenges around regulating how and where they are used. This is a valuable project and we look forward to seeing the results of this research.
The study begins in the next few days and we’ll keep you updated on any developments.
Now over to you guys:
Does your workplace have a vaping policy?
What do you think about ‘fag breaks?’
Should vapers be allowed to vape at work around none vapers?
Anything you’d like to add?
Let us know in the comments below!