Can you get fired for vaping at work?
Vaping at work may not be covered by your company's non-smoking policy, especially if you live in a state that doesn’t have explicit laws on vaping and using e-cigarettes in indoor workspaces or indoors in general.
Table of Contents
Can you vape at work?
At least 13 states have outlawed vaping in indoor public venues and workspaces. You can vape at work, provided your employer has designated a smoking area outdoors or indoors.
Still, this will be allowed if the state you live in hasn’t outright banned vaping at work.
If you’re unsure about whether you can vape while at work, you better consult your HR office or your superiors and get familiarized with the company policies related to smoking and using electronic cigarettes or other similar devices.
Is vaping in the workplace illegal?
In the U.S., vaping at the workplace is illegal in a good number of states, especially indoors. And while in other states, smoking is outright banned in enclosed workplaces, using vaporizers remains a grey area, as specific bans on vaping have not yet been enacted.
So, it would not be illegal to vape at work in a state where anti-smoking legislation does not cover the use of vaporizers and e-cigarettes.
This, however, doesn’t mean that your employer has not implemented special rules with regards to vaping in the building or somewhere specially designated outside the workplace.
Should vaping be allowed in the workplace?
A lot of research has been conducted on the possible harmful effects of vaping, so in that sense, opinions on whether vaping in the workplace should be allowed vary.
For instance, in a 2019 online survey, 63,2% of employees were concerned about vaping at work.
Non-users, mainly, perceived workplace vaping in a negative way. Some of them expressed concerns about secondhand exposure, as toxic chemicals are released during vaping in the form of aerosols.
Other participants in the research poll believed that vaping reduced productivity among users and non-users alike.
As the popularity of workplace vaping differs by industry and employee profile, only clear policies, comprehensively backed by scientific research, can address the issue of whether vaping at work should be allowed.
Can you get in trouble for vaping at work?
Make no mistake that if your company’s vaping-at-work policy prohibits smoking e-cigarettes outside any well-appointed areas, breaching these rules will result in some undesirable repercussions for you.
In other words, if you get caught vaping at work, when and where you should not, this will definitely get you in trouble.
Don’t try to follow the example of brazen coworkers who use e-cigarettes in the workplace and, this way, disrespect any bans.
Instead, comply with your company rules by refraining from vaping at work or using your electronic smoking device during rest breaks only and outside the workplace.
Is vaping at work gross misconduct?
Vaping at work will be considered gross misconduct if your employer has clearly stipulated that you cannot indulge in this habit while at work.
New employees should always refer to the company’s regulations on smoking and vaping if in doubt. Speak to your manager about what you can and can’t do at work to avoid disciplinary actions.
And remember, breaching the non-smoking or non-vaping policy at your workplace can lead to misconduct, followed by getting fired.
Does vaping in the office cause damage?
Vaping at the office can surely cause damage to employees who are not smoking or using any tobacco substitute products.
Vaporizers, vape pens, and e-cigarettes don’t just deliver nicotine to the user. There’s a concoction of other toxic chemicals released in the air during vaping, which have been linked to serious diseases.
More and more scientists are looking at the possible harmful effects on people exposed to secondhand vaping.
So, using vaporizers in the office will inevitably result in some level of indoor air pollution, which is damaging and health-hazardous to all employees on the premises.
In addition, some electronic smoking devices contain combustible parts. Battery-operated nicotine delivery systems can sometimes explode and cause severe burns and even death.
Therefore, employers, who allow vaping at work, should think twice before taking the risk of someone getting injured in this way while on their premises.
Should employers allow vaping at work?
Considering that vaping causes health-related issues and too many breaks for vaping at work reduces productivity, the natural conclusion would be that employers should not allow vaping at work.
Still, not all workplaces are equal in the context of what type of work respective employees do. For instance, if dealing with children and the public, in general, is a major part of your job responsibilities, then vaping while at work would be outright inappropriate.
On the other hand, you might be employed in a creative niche industry, say, at a small graphic design studio, where vaping policies are more relaxed.
It’s good to point out, on another note, that many e-cigarette users are also traditional smokers who only resort to vaping (where allowed) because of the strict implementation of bans on smoking indoors.
So, if you’re an employer, who has allowed vaping at work, you’ll be inadvertently encouraging smoking members of your staff to prolong their unhealthy habits and postpone any prospective attempts to quit.
Therefore, employers in states where workplace vaping has not been banned should implement any relevant policies in a written form after careful consideration of the health risks for everyone on their team and all other parties concerned, whether clients or partners.
My opinion on vaping at work
If there are rules in your state about vaping at work, then follow them. If your company has a policy about vaping and smoking at work, follow it. It is as simple as that.
But even if you find yourself in a situation with no restriction whatsoever, for the sake of being a good coworker, always consider the preferences of the coworkers who are close to you.
Generally, non-smokers do not like to be exposed to substances in any form.
I'm lucky because my boss recently designated a separate office for employees who vape and smoke. I guess he saw that by allowing us to vape at our desks while working, we no longer needed to take smoking breaks that interrupted our workflow.
I don't know about my coworkers, but I can honestly say that my productivity has doubled since then.