Would you blast your playlist in a communal work space? How about microwaving leftover fish so everyone in the office could “enjoy” your reheated leftovers? Probably not. But what about vaping?
As e-cigarettes become more popular, people in the workplace are steamed about having to unwillingly smell the scented vapors the devices emit. In fact, even the e-cig manufacturer Juul had to ban its own employees from vaping while at work to comply with a 2016 California law prohibiting vaping in the workplace.
California is one of twelve states and many cities that have enacted laws against vaping, the practice of inhaling vapor from a battery-operated device that contains liquid with nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. However, the regulations haven’t been broadly publicized and are not regularly enforced, leaving many non-vapers unhappily inhaling the scents, just as non-smokers were forced to breathe in second-hand smoke years ago. And while inhaling the exhaled vapors from e-cigarettes has not been shown to cause medical problems, it is most definitely causing workplace irritation.
Some find the sucking sound made when inhaling the vapor disturbing, while others grouse about the odor creeping its way into their spaces. Still, the practice is not prohibited in many states, and so vapers continue to vape, whether it’s sneaking a puff in the bathroom or ignoring the building policies requiring smokers of anything—e-cigarette or tobacco—to take their habit outdoors, often to a designated area.
Whose rights should take precedence?
- If vaping hasn’t been proven to cause medical harm, should it be allowed in public spaces?
- Should employers enforce anti-vaping regulations to the point of punishing or firing those who don’t comply?
- What would you do if you were in the situation of having to breathe the exhaled vapor of an e-cigarette against your wishes?