Introducing e-cigarettes policies into the workplace

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E-cigarettes may have been on the market for a while now but official laws regulating their usage are still few and far between. Ontario is ahead of the pack, having proposed a bill that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to teenagers and restrict their usage in public places from 2016 but until regulations catch up, employers are forced to implement independent e-cigarette polices. Here, smoking cessation expert Ken Wassum offers his advice on how to do it effectively.

Develop a communication strategy. 
“Determine the best methods for communicating within the organization, both with employees and management,” says Wassum.
Whether you use an email campaign, hold a meeting or distribute company-wide promotional material, you need to make sure everyone gets the same message.
Lay out expectations and consequences.
Wassum advises employers to communicate the policy clearly and state the rationale for why e-cigarette use is being banned on company property. “Be clear about how the policy will be enforced and whether there will be any punitive actions taken toward employees who do not comply with the policy,” he says.
Present the policy as a positive change.
“Make sure all communications and promotions present the new policy as a benefit that ensures a healthy workplace for everyone,” says Wassum. “Be clear that the policy is not meant as punishment to employees who use any type of tobacco.”
Offer access to a program that will help employees quit.
Whether it’s e-cigarettes or other traditional tobacco products, offer an alternative to your employees and help them kick the habit for good.
Companies with smoke-free or tobacco-free policies in place can easily add an e-cigarette section to their existing policies, if they wish.  If you have such policies in place, you can draw upon previous experience when deciding e-cigarette strategies.
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