The Do’s & Don’ts Of Vaping At Work
> Many companies consider vaping and smoking the same
Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, workers could ease the stresses of the day by just lighting up a mellow cigarette right at their desk.
Imagine being able to just light up right in your cubicle after a brutally long and intensive conference call.
That world was pre-1970’s America and nearly every other country on the planet.
Back then, ashtrays could be found on nearly every desk and table throughout the building. If the room has a light switch, it also had an ashtray.
If you’ve ever seen the TV series MadMen, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. The advertising gang at Sterling Cooper smoked cigarettes like how people drink water from S’Well bottles today.
Everyone was lighting up back then.
As more and more research was released about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, the public’s tolerance for smoking began to get lower and lower.
Starting in the 1980’s, companies started placing restrictions on where workers could smoke. By the early 2000’s, entire states slowly started to institute indoor smoking bans in public places like restaurants and bars.
It was getting harder and harder to find a convenient place to light up and have a smoke. Often, you had to walk outside to some remote corner and huddle amongst other smokers.
It’s such a fucking hassle.
Then around 2015-ish, e-cigs and vaping technologies started to really become a viable alternative to traditional cigarettes.
The second-hand vapor isn’t nearly as bad smelling as normal cigarettes. In fact, sometimes, it smells really good. This seemed like a magical solution for die-hard smokers.
And since it’s not “smoke” but really vapor, what’s the harm in vaping indoors at work?
Well, it turns out quite a lot and it’s not all about health issues.
Second-Hand Vapor & The Social Stigma Of Vaping At Work
Smokers and vapers know all about the health risks of smoking tobacco or using electronic cigarettes.
It’s no different than telling someone that’s overweight about how eating donuts at work is unhealthy. They know it and accept it.
When we’re stressed out and we’ve busted our ass on a project all week long and then someone brings in fresh donuts on Friday, we’re taking one as our personal reward for all the effort we put in.
Yes, it’s not healthy for us. We know that. But it’s our decision and our health. And, we’re not negatively impacting someone else’s health. So, let us be.
This same can’t be said for smoking or vaping.
The major issue is the second-hand smoke, vapor or aerosol that users exhale out and the nearby bystanders that may be exposed to it.
You don’t have to be a lung doctor to know that breathing in anything but clean air isn’t good for you - be it vehicle exhaust, pollen, factory fumes, other people’s coughs-n-sneezes, air pollution, etc.
What we want to bring to light is the social aspects of being a vaper or e-cig smoker at work.
To non-smokers at your office...
You’re Still A “Smoker”
While you may not be “lighting up” in the traditional sense, you’re still taking a smoking break but just in a new way with e-cigs.
Maybe, vaping isn’t as rough on your lungs like smoking normal cigarettes. Or, maybe you like the flavor or scents better than traditional tobacco. Or, maybe it’s just plain easier and more convenient than smoking traditional cigarettes.
Whatever the case may be, you may think of yourself as more of a lighter or less serious smoker, but to others, you’re still part of the old crowd.
Second-Hand Vapor Is Seen As Harmful
There’s been plenty of research that proves how traditional second-hand cigarette smoke is harmful to others. And it’s been drilled into the public’s awareness for so long that everybody automatically assumes the same thing with e-cigarettes.
Right now, there isn’t any concrete direct evidence to prove that second-hand vapor is harmful to others. And, we’re not here to refute or support it either way. What we’re sharing is how others view it in general.
To all the other non-smokers at your office, you’re still a smoker in their eyes and those big glorious plumes of exhaled vapor is seen just as harmful as cigarette smoke. Generally speaking, they don’t see it as being any different.
Social Smoking & Vaping Is The Same Thing
There are plenty of times when coworkers head out together for a smoke. It’s not only a stress relief break, but also a good way to socialize with other smokers.
There’s bound to be a few senior managers and/or executives that head out for a cigarette break. And, when staff-level workers are out there at the same time, it can be valuable face time to get answers, decisions, directions, recommendations etc.
It’s no different than “social smokers” who gather outside of bars and parties with the “cool” people to have a smoke together, away from the normal crowd. It’s a different social circle that offers informal relationship privileges that non-smokers may not get at the office.
The Practical Do’s & Don’ts Of Vaping At Work
In today’s world, e-cigarettes and vaping are largely treated the same way as traditional smoking with cigarettes. Any rules, laws and/or regulations that apply to cigarettes will most likely also apply to e-cigs.
Now, any signage that has “no smoking” usually will have “including electronic cigarettes” added to the wording.
Airline announcements about smoking also prohibit “the use of electronic cigarettes” while onboard the plane.
Despite any and all logic about how e-cigs are truly different than tobacco-based products, the general public, employers and government see both as fundamentally the same and treats them as such.
So, whether it’s lighting up or turning on, smokers and vapers have to play by the same rules.
And, playing by the rules at your office will go a long way in maintaining your personal brand reputation at work. So, it’s a good idea to follow along.
The Do’s Of Vaping At Work
When it’s time for a vaping break at work, follow these simple guidelines and recommendations so that there’s no friction.
Do Follow The Rules - Every office and company will have their particular policies related to smoking at work. Some have updated their policies to include vaping while others still haven’t caught up with the times. Don’t press your luck and piss people off by just vaping wherever. Ask HR about the vaping policy.
Do Take It Outside - When it’s nice outside or when vaping isn’t allowed indoors (most likely), head outside for your vaping break. Even though the exhaled vapor isn’t as suffocating as smoked tobacco, your coworkers won’t like seeing or smelling your clouds. So, step outside to the patio or designated smoking area and puff away.
Do Follow The Same Courtesies - Even though you may be part of the new smoking frontier, there are still unwritten rules of smoking within a group whether that’s exhaling upwards or away from others, sharing the space or asking if it’s okay to vape next to them etc.
Do Take Vaping Stress Breaks - Not everyone in the office meditates to relieve stress. We all have our ways to deal with and manage work stress. And for some of us, it’s a short vaping break outside to get away from it all for a few minutes. Everyone needs time away from the screen and keyboard.
Do Vape In Moderation - Just like many other habits or things we eat or drink, we don’t want to take things to the extreme - that’s never good. As the saying goes, “everything in moderation.” So, don’t blow through an entire tank of juice in one session. Your lungs (and wallet) will thank you.
The Don’ts Of Vaping At Work
These are some of the most obvious “don’ts” as far as vaping at work. They’re all common sense but worth mentioning here because there are still a few idiots out there.
Don’t Do Stealth Vaping - There are now stealthy vaping devices that look like pens and liquids that barely emit visible smoke or scents. As tempting as it is, it’s simply not worth the risk of vaping inside the office and getting called out on it and eventually getting shit-canned.
Don’t Vape Strong Flavors - Vaping flavors and their resulting scents isn’t that much different than how you wear cologne or perfume in the office. You don’t want to be a scent bomber to your fellow smokers, so consider some milder flavors for work.
Don’t Perform Refills At Work - At some point when the juice runs low in the device, you’ll need to refill the tank. Complete all refills at home and not at work to avoid the inevitable spillage and the resulting odors and mess.
Don’t Be A Cloud Chaser - Yes, it’s really cool and enjoyable to blow a monster plume of vape and just watch it slowly dissipate. It’s both physically and visually therapeutic in a way that’s hard to describe. But, that monster cloud attracts a lot of unwanted attention from coworkers and it comes across as being flamboyant.
Don’t Be A Vaping Preacher - Chances are pretty good that you’ll be vaping among traditional smokers at the designated spots at work. You may be a die-hard convert, but don’t force your ideologies on others. If they ask, sure, share your experiences. Otherwise, just relax and enjoy a few minutes away from email.
Vape With Common Sense & Enjoy The Breaks
Everyone needs mental breaks throughout the day from the drudgery of work. We all bust our asses to get that next presentation done, excel analysis completed, work orders fulfilled, urgent senior management requests addressed, etc.
All of us enjoy the mental and physiological relief of stepping away from our desks and just clearing our heads with some fresh air outside. Some of us will go for a walk, some will sit and quietly meditate and some will vape.
Smoking and vaping are now pretty much treated in the same category at most workplaces. And, the simple fact of just being able to vape at all at work is something to be grateful for.
It’s not unrealistic that someday, some company out there will ban any and all kinds of smoking (e-cigs included) anywhere on company property, even outside.
Imagine having to walk outside, through the parking lot, past the company entrance to get to public property to take a break - in the dead of winter or blazing heat of summer. That would suck big time.
So, to preserve this privilege, it simply comes down to common sense.
Don’t be an asshole. Be courteous and respect the rules. If everyone sticks to that simple plan, vaping at work will be around for awhile.