For Immediate Release
November 14, 2019

 

How Vaping Is Changing Workplace Policies

Employers revaluating long-established tobacco guidelines


BROOKFIELD, WI—It is standard practice to prohibit smoking in the workplace, but what are employers saying about e-cigarettes/vaping? In recent years, smoking rates have declined, but according to the World Health Organization, the number of vapers around the world has increased from about seven million in 2011 to 14 million in 2018.

The continued health threat of cigarette smoking paired with the rapid growth in popularity of vaping among both employees and dependents has caused workplaces to revisit their tobacco and smoking cessation policies. In the recent International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey report, Workplace Wellness Trends, United States organizations were asked about their tobacco-related benefit offerings.

According to Julie Stich, CEBS, Vice President of Content at the International Foundation, almost half (46%) of organizations have a formal policy regarding vaping at work.

"We're noticing that newly established vaping policies generally align with current smoking policies," said Stich. "If the organization is based in a state that does not have specific e-cigarette laws in place, it's up to the employer to decide whether to ban vaping at work, taking into consideration how e-cigarette use fits into the company's culture and goals." Stich added, "The evolving investigation into the outbreak of lung injuries due to vaping is also causing employers to look at this issue from a safety and well-being perspective."

Workplace smoking policies vary across the country:

  • 45%—Smoking is limited to specific designated outdoor areas.
  • 29%—Smoking is prohibited on entire campus (including parking and outdoor areas).
  • 14%—Smoking is permitted outside of the building.
  • 9%—Smoking policies vary by worksite.
  • 3%—Smoking is not prohibited anywhere.

What are employers doing to help employees combat an addiction? Two-thirds (69%) of organizations offer tobacco/smoking-cessation programs to workers. Of the organizations that track the effectiveness of the program, 69% rate the program as very or somewhat effective.

Twelve percent of organizations plan to add tobacco/smoking-cessation wellness offerings within the next two years.

For more information and to access the Workplace Wellness Trends survey report, visit www.ifebp.org/workplacewellness2019.

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The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 31,500 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org