On the 6th July, Public Health England (PHE) released a 15 page document entitled “Use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces“, to help and assist companies and organisations regulate ecigarettes and vaping on their premises and public places. A branch of the British Government’s Department of Health, PHE aims to clearly make the distinction between vaping and smoking tobacco, and to plainly separate the two, as the black-and-white approach the government has taken up until now of lumbering ecigarettes with tobacco has failed to support those trying to quit and remain tobacco free.
Public Health England have drawn up a five-point guideline to help assist in the creation of vaping policy in the workplace, that address each situation:
Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking.
Ensure policies are informed by the evidence on health risks to bystanders.
Identify and manage risks of uptake by children and young people.
Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree.
Support compliance with smoke-free law and policies.
In the press release, Professor Kevin Fenton, the National Director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, is firm on the belief that it’s necessary for appropriate policies in public places and workplaces, and that Public Health England’s work on the issue will help organisations to use evidence, instead of guesswork, to create e-cigarettes policies that will support ex-smokers, and to assist them in quitting and staying smokefree, while at the same time managing any risks specific to their setting.
We believe that vaping should not be treated the same as smoking. E-cigarette use does not meet the legal or clinical definitions of smoking and while there is conclusive evidence that secondhand smoke is harmful to health, there is currently no evidence of harm from secondhand e-cigarette vapour and any risks are likely to be extremely low.
– Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England
Part of the issue also comes with education and information, as “Smokers increasingly believe vaping is as dangerous as smoking, and this mistaken belief may be discouraging some smokers from switching.” It’s very important to advise businesses, companies, and organisations about the negative impact that categorising both vaping and smoking as the same thing have.