Most states have passed no smoking laws that apply in the workplace. But does the same rule apply when employees use non-tobacco smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes? Would you object to a co-worker “smoking” an e-cigarette or “vaping” in your office or during a meeting? We believe that co-workers should not be required to be exposed to “vaping” at work any more than they should be exposed to second hand cigarette smoke, and we are actively pursuing claims against employers that do not treat so called “vaping” the same as smoking tobacco in the workplace.
Many people are unaware that the FDA has proposed rules to subject e-cigarettes and similar products to the same FDA restrictions as tobacco based products (Read more here). Under these rules, e-cigarette makers will be prohibited from claiming that e-cigarettes are healthier alternatives to traditional tobacco products. Thus, we believe that using an e-cigarette or related device should be the same as a regular cigarette when it comes to enforcing workplace smoking bans. Some people may argue that the fumes emitted by e-cigarettes are not the same as traditional cigarettes. They may even argue that these emissions are less harmful. But the fact is that very little is known about the long term effects of e-cigarettes. Indeed, that is the reason the FDA has proposed rules prohibiting makers of these products from making such claims – because they have not been proved true. Moreover, what is well known is that the conditions of many individuals with asthma and other breathing disorders can be seriously aggravated by being around e-cigarette smoking (Read more here). Employers who allow “vaping” at work could be causing harm to such employees, and could face claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act and other applicable laws.
(Image courtesy of Goldy at freedigitalphotos.net)