Did you know that an estimated nine million adults in the US vape regularly and that the number is growing? If you’re an employer it’s likely that at least one of your employees vapes. So, what should you do about the growing trend?

Vaping might have been around for years but it’s only relatively recently that it’s become more mainstream. It means that many employers have yet to address the issue or that it hasn’t even registered on their radar. But it’s something you should think about and create an approach for, it’s expected that the vaping trend will only continue to grow so getting to grips now puts you in a good position for the future.

Not sure where to start? These six things should be on your list of considerations:

Recognise that it is different to cigarettes

One of the quickest ways to annoy a vaper is to state that e-cigarettes are the same as traditional, tobacco smokes. There is a difference and it’s important to recognise this across your workplace policy. Even if you decide that vaping will be under the same restrictions as smoking, naming them both is crucial.

More people are turning to vaping as a way to quit smoking for a variety of reasons, from improving their health to saving some cash. Supporting vaping and making that all important distinction could help encourage more of your employee to kick their habit.

Think about you employees’ role

The role of your employees and the industry that you work in should have a huge impact on your e-cigarette policy. If you work within a health environment or children, vaping in the workplace should certainly be ruled out. In other areas, it’s more down to your discretion. For customer facing roles, you should think about how your typical clientele will view vaping, some won’t mind at all and may even embrace it while it could put others off.

You could set up a designated vaping area if you’re worried about how vaping would reflect on the role.

Understand your staff’s perception of vaping

How your employees view vaping needs to be taken into consideration as much as those of your customers. It’s a particularly important step if your staff work within the same, enclosed space, such as an open plan office. Some vapers might be tempted to vape at their desk if you don’t have a policy in place so gathering some insight into how this would be viewed can help inform your decision.

Take a look at the research

Vaping is a much debated subject and there are lots of misinformed opinions out there. While it’s true that there’s lots more research needed, there is a growing amount of studies from reliable sources that you can take a look at.

Armed with the right information you can make a more informed choice, educate employees, and back up your policies if needed. The most recent research concludes that vaping is less harmful than smoking and there’s a whole host of studies looking at other areas, from the effects of second-hand vaping to how addictive it is. A quick internet search will bring up lots for you to look over.

Understand the laws

Being relatively new, vaping laws are often not as clear cut as smoking rules and vary from state to state. Regulation is gradually being brought in, so keeping an eye on the latest laws and looking at how they affect your current policies is a must.

Many local jurisdictions have begun enacting laws prohibiting vaping everywhere that smoking is banned. However, in some places it’s still possible for vaping to be allowed in bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues despite comprehensive smoke-free laws. At the moment, Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Tennessee don’t have any regulation around indoor vaping at all, giving you more freedom to set policies that suit your business, employees, and customers.

Make sure you have a clear policy

No matter what you decide your stance on vaping is, a clear policy is important. It’ll mean that all your employees have a good understanding about when and where they can vape, as well as giving you something to refer back to should an issue come up.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].