Ah, the great Cigarette Break. Who remembers the days, back in the 90s, 80s, and even earlier, when ‘just popping out for five minutes’ meant that you were heading down to the ground floor of your office, and huddling outside its front door, all in order to enjoy the dual pleasures of time away from doing any actual work, combined with smoking a cigarette? In its way, the Cigarette Break was an inter-company bonding experience – you could find yourself smoking next to people who were in a different department from you – as well as a great way of catching up on gossip with someone you worked with but didn’t sit that close to. Fellow smokers would nod at each other in the lift, catch each other’s eye on walking past each other’s desks, and generally take it in turns to approach each other, waving a cigarette packet and lighter, to say, ‘fancy one?’
These days, smoking has been banned from even taking place outside many office buildings; smokers are now treated like pariahs. But vaping is viewed far more favourably, and in any office there will likely be a percentage of people who do it. Vaping company GoSmokeFree.co.uk wanted to find out if vapers behaved in the same way smokers did and became closer to fellow work colleagues who vaped (survey of 600). Their survey found that 28% – just over 1 in 4 – said yes, that was the case.
In addition, 28% of those surveyed by GoSmokeFree.co.uk said that vaping should be allowed at the office / at work. Currently in the UK, vaping in the workplace is a matter of discretion for the employer. Many organisations treat the use of e-cigarettes in a similar way to smoking, and only allow it in designated outside areas. Interestingly, it is not actually illegal to vape on the premises of your business or office; that’s because e-cigarettes do not come under the legal definition of ‘smoking’ which was set out under our smoke-free legislation. It’s important to remember, however, that most organisations will not allow it – for one thing, it looks bad, and as if you’re not focusing on your actual job. So for now, it looks as if we’ll just have to catch up on the results of the weekend’s episode of Strictly, or the goss about who in accounting is dating who in HR, over an outdoor vape session with our colleagues.