I’ve touched on this briefly a few times before (here, here and most recently here) and it’s all about smoking/vaping in the workplace in particular, and anywhere else in public in general. As many readers will know Public Health England recently released some guidance on the “Use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces”.
Before I go much further, let me remind you of a comment that had been left on one of my posts about this particularly thorny subject:
She said she didn’t see why people could vape at their desks when she couldn’t smoke, that, in her opinion, vapers were not vaping to quit smoking but vaping as an alternative to smoking because they enjoyed it. How very dare they!!
In a nutshell vapers do vape because they enjoy it – I certainly do, but only when I feel like taking a toke on my device. It’s currently 09:39 as I write this post (I’m supposed to be working, but it’s relatively quiet for once), and I’ve been at my desk for an hour and not touched my mod (other than to knock it over like the klutz that I am). I haven’t wanted to, I’m perfectly content typing away, keeping an eye on my network statistics and monitors.
But, as I’ve mentioned in a this post, I am allowed to vape freely in the office. I did get a talking to once when I went overboard a little (c’mon I was bored waiting for my laptop to shut-down at the end of the day – what else was I going to do?!), and the only comment was to “be reasonable”. That is fair enough – this was long before the PHE “guidance”.
We know for certain, and it has been succinctly clarified in the guidance document that vaping (or e-cigarette use) is not covered by smokefree legislation. Which is of course in stark contrast to many places in the US where legislation is being passed to include vaping in smokefree legislation – which I think many of you will agree, is absurd. I will just point out that the existing legislation on both sides of the pond is based on fairly weak pseudo science and is hardly conclusive, but yet no-one seems to bother questioning it.
Thanks to that legislation, smoking indoors in public places is prohibited. But as I mentioned in this post:
It isn’t an overly ridiculous idea to have separate areas in pubs and restaurants (they did prior to the smoking ban, and with improvements in air extraction this is entirely feasible)
I have no problems with a separate room in workplaces for vapers, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if businesses decided to say “sod the legislation, we’re going to provide for smokers too”? After all, if vaping is allowed in a specific place inside, surely it’s only fair to extend the same courtesy to smokers? I would be delighted if businesses took a “screw you” approach and did that. But they won’t, ‘cos nanny says so.
As fellow blogger Dick Puddlecote succinctly says:
Vaping indoors is legal, not at all harmful to anyone, and it’s not any of our business what companies do. However, we’d like to say that if you ban these devices you’re a bit of a dick unless you have extremely strong grounds to do so.
However, I’m not fond of being part of PHE’s “grand plan” for a tobacco-free generation by 2025 (yet another arbitrary number, where do these things keep coming from?):
PHE’s ambition is to secure a tobacco-free generation by 2025. We believe e-cigarettes have the potential to make a significant contribution to its achievement. Realising this potential depends on fostering an environment in which e-cigarettes can provide a route out of smoking for England’s eight million smokers, without providing a route into smoking for children or non-smokers
Well isn’t that just lovely? While I applaud the efforts of PHE and their fellows in getting vaping recognised as a viable alternative to smoking – whether that be for cessation or for general consumption – the choice, as they say is up to the individual. But as an organisation, PHE is intent of using any and all tools available to “end the tobacco epidemic” – individuals within PHE are different, but the organisation has, shall we say, some skewed views.
As highlighted by Simon Clark, PHE haven’t issued guidelines for allowing vaping at desks, instead they state:
Where a decision is taken to allow vaping in an enclosed place, policies could consider some simple etiquette guidelines for vapers, such as minimising the production of visible vapour
to maximise the number of smokers switching to e-cigarettes, vaping should be made a more convenient, as well as safer, option
While I would like to see more smokers switch to vaping, I’m not one to evangelise that they should. Let them choose for themselves.
I do think people will enjoy this statement immensely:
while smokefree law protects people from the harm of secondhand smoke (questionable PB), forcing smokers outdoors has increased public visibility of smoking, including to children and young people
Oops. By banning smoking indoors, “public health” have inadvertently increased public visibility of smoking. Who knew?
So how about reversing some of the ridiculousness public health? Bring the smokers back inside into their own rooms so they can enjoy a pint and a smoke in peace eh?
Might also want to re-consider the ridiculous bans in sports stadia too. Go on, you know you want to relinquish a bit of control.
By the way, it’s now 10:17 and I’ve knocked my mod over three times now, but I still haven’t used it.
(image credit alice-photo/shutterstock.com)