Vaping in work - advice for business policies from public health england

 

Today (6 July 2016) Public Health England (PHE) is publishing new framework advice for businesses and employers to help them create their own policies on the use of e-cigarettes. There are now 2.8 million e-cigarette users in the UK and there is a need for appropriate policies in public places and workplaces.

PHE’s new framework helps organisations create e-cigarette policies that will support smokers to quit and stay smoke-free, while managing any risks specific to their setting.

The framework acknowledges that workplace environments vary greatly and there is no one-size-fits-all approach; a factory or warehouse is a very different setting to a nursery school, with different considerations to make.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of health and wellbeing at PHE said:

“The evidence is clear that vaping is much less harmful than smoking and that e-cigarettes are helping many smokers to quit. This new framework will encourage organisations to consider both the benefits and the risks when developing their own policies on e-cigarettes. Different approaches will be appropriate in different places, but policies should take account of the evidence and clearly distinguish vaping from smoking.”

Following extensive stakeholder engagement, PHE created this framework advice to give organisations 5 principles that will help guide the creation of a vaping policy that is right for them, covering the following considerations:

  1. Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking.
  2. Ensure policies are informed by the evidence on health risks to bystanders.s300_sign5
  3. Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people.
  4. Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree.
  5. Support compliance with smokefree law and policies.

An expert independent evidence review published today by Public Health England (PHE) concludes that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking.

Key findings of the review include:

  • the current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking
  • nearly half the population (44.8%) don’t realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking
  • there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers

The comprehensive review of the evidence finds that almost all of the 2.6 million adults using e-cigarettes in Great Britain are current or ex-smokers, most of whom are using the devices to help them quit smoking or to prevent them going back to cigarettes. It also provides reassurance that very few adults and young people who have never smoked are becoming regular e-cigarette users (less than 1% in each group).