It’s clear now that smokers in America are being sent out to pasture, and sometimes nearly literally. Those of us who’ve never smoked and never care to can finally go out in public and avoid secondhand or even third-hand smoke in public places where smoking isn’t allowed. While many of those businesses (and especially restaurants) don’t allow smokers at all lately, what about the corporate atmosphere that once had everyone smoking in break rooms 40 to 50 years ago?
Many workplaces aren’t allowing smokers anywhere near the company grounds. Having guidelines like this based on those you hire has plenty of benefits beyond preventing the spreading of secondhand smoke. But you might encounter a new bridge to cross when it comes to hiring someone who’s trying to quit smoking and using e-cigarettes.
What is the Underlying Philosophy on Having a Non-Smoker Workplace?
Cancer.org gives a basic model policy for non-smoking in the workplace that takes into consideration more than creating a healthier environment. You also set yourself up to pay less in health insurance premiums because the chances for employees getting sick from smoking-related illness are reduced. There’s an additional chance to reduce sick time from employees due to possible pulmonary issues during flu season. Having too many absences in the middle of a pivotal time for your company can cause a disastrous situation that isn’t worth giving smokers a break.
Another aspect companies may not consider is that maintenance time is reduced due to the smoking ban. You don’t have to worry about the continual cleaning of ashtrays or taking care of smoke damage done to interior spaces in break rooms. Furniture and carpets also get damage from smokers, and that can cost money to replace every year.
Plus, as much as we like to think smokers take care not to start fires, there’s always the risk someone will slip up. An employee may inadvertently drop a lit cigarette on a carpet or squash a cigarette in a flammable area outside. Having a fire is the worst nightmare for a business, and a strict non-smoking policy reduces risk considerably.
Regardless, you may relent and let an employee in who’s trying to quit smoking, though still in the process through the use of e-cigarettes. Should a new policy be developed for the e-cigarette technology?
Developing E-Cigarette Policies
While you have to expect some bias in the e-cigarette market, some pro e-cigarette websites contend that allowing them in the workplace could save considerable money for companies. That’s because the time it takes for real smokers to go outside for smoke breaks starts adding up after a while. Reports are that allowing e-cigarettes to be used directly in the office could save you $100,000 annually for every 10 employees who smoke.
The above is a statistic you can’t really argue with, even if some companies are still debating whether to allow e-cigarettes directly in work environments. Clearly, a policy has to be made to allow specialized e-cigarette environments for those who don’t want to even see the sight of a cigarette, even an electronic one.
If you’re just starting your company, a no-smoking policy can certainly be done, despite perhaps limiting talented employees you need. The e-cigarette policy may have to be the new approach from now on in finding a middle ground on smoking policies and holding no personal biases on skilled people.