Are Your Workplace Policies Up to Date about Vaping?

December 16, 2019

The popularity of vaping is sending some employers scrambling to craft workplace policies governing the use of electronic cigarettes.

Vaping is when users puff electronic cigarettes — also called e-cigs, vaporizers and electronic nicotine delivery systems — to inhale an aerosol that usually contains nicotine, and/or flavorings and other chemicals. The e-cigarettes are battery-operated and usually look like a traditional cigarette, pen or USB flash drive.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 33 deaths related to vaping have been confirmed in 24 states since Oct. 15, 2019.

Policy Considerations:

Since smoking is banned from most workplaces, many employers are treating the smokeless alternative like cigarettes. If you decide to follow a similar track in your workplace, you should evaluate your smoking policies so they are clear about what products are banned and what areas of the worksite are covered by any ban.

Employers also should consider state and local regulations when developing a policy. For instance, some statutes — including Alaska, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C. — prohibit vaping in places where smoking is banned. Other states have banned vaping in child care facilities, state government buildings, schools and enclosed workspaces. Some local municipalities also have enacted bans on e-cigarettes in enclosed workplaces.

Another consideration is whether your company employees belong to a union. If so, the union may want to have a say in any policies you develop about vaping.

If you decide to institute a new policy or update an old one, some states have regulations about how much notice you need to give employees. Human resource advisors suggest giving employees 60 to 90 days’ notice.  

The information provided in this alert is not, is not intended to be, and shall not be construed to be, either the provision of legal advice or an offer to provide legal services, nor does it necessarily reflect the opinions of the firm, our lawyers or our clients. This is not legal advice. No client-lawyer relationship between you and our lawyers is or may be created by your use of this information. Rather, the content is intended as a general overview of the subject matter covered. Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP is not obligated to provide updates on the information presented herein. Those reading this alert are encouraged to seek direct counsel on legal questions. © 2023 Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP. All Rights Reserved.

About Alera Group 

Alera Group is an independent, national insurance and wealth services firm with more than $1.1 billion in annual revenue, offering comprehensive employee benefits, property and casualty insurance, retirement plan services and wealth services solutions to clients nationwide. By working collaboratively across specialties and geographies, Alera Group’s team of more than 4,000 professionals in more than 180 locations provides creative, competitive services that help ensure a client’s business and personal success. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn.