Kicking the habit Latest case on electronic cigarettes

Employers have no doubt found a rise in the number of their employees using electronic cigarettes in the first few months of 2015 with the inevitable New Year resolution to finally ‘kick the habit’.

Certainly there has been a substantial rise in the use of electronic cigarettes since smoking in public areas, including the workplace, was banned in 2006. The organisation Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), estimates that around 2.1 million adults currently use electronic cigarettes. This leads to a dilemma for employers about whether to permit employees to use electronic cigarettes at work.

The decision involves balancing a number of factors (see below), but what is key is for employers to ensure that a no smoking policy reflects any decision not to allow the use of electronic cigarettes at work.

This issue has hit the headlines recently in the case of Insley v Accent Catering. An employee brought a constructive dismissal claim against her employer who had called her to a disciplinary hearing in relation to 'vaping' (smoking an electronic cigarette at work) and bringing the employer into disrepute.

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.


Employment law moves at a fast pace. Keeping up to date with changes and developments is a challenge for every HR professional, helps you keep ahead of the game, plan for change and provides tools for solving those workplace dilemmas.


Andrew Chamberlain

Partner - Head of Employment & Chair of the SDE

I am a Partner, the National Head of the Employment Team and the Chair of the Service Delivery Executive (SDE), which is focused on building better solutions for clients.