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« E-cigarette company "never intended to cause any bad feeling" | Main | Another Tory defects to Ukip and this time it's personal (a personal friend) »

E-cigarette company wants ban on smoking breaks at work

Research published today claims that smoking breaks cost UK employers £8.3 bn per year, with individual smokers costing a business £1,458.60 a year.

On the back of this, and according to an email I have seen, "e-cigarette brand Vapestick are piloting a brand new programme and are calling on employers to allow e-cigarette use in the workplace and ban smoking breaks to alleviate this cost".

According to the actual press release:

Not only do smoking breaks have health implications for employees and cost implications for a business, but they can also impact the cleanliness of outside spaces. E-cigarettes offer a nicotine-containing solution for smokers that doesn't require a trip outside and that doesn’t leave behind unsightly cigarette butts or the lingering smell of tobacco.

Cloudamour, one of the businesses that has taken part in the 'Vaping in the Workplace' programme, has now banned cigarette breaks during working hours "to increase productivity".

Mitchell Feldman, CEO of Cloudamour, said: "We now actively encourage all smokers within our workforce to vape at their desks instead of taking cigarette breaks outside.

"We've also noticed that our staff concentrate more in meetings because they're not thinking about their next cigarette break and [it] goes without saying that our outside areas are cleaner than most and staff don't smell of tobacco.

We actually don't allow employees to take time out during the working day for cigarette breaks now and even subsidise our staff's Vapestick purchases to encourage our team to stop smoking altogether and vape instead."

The press release continues:

Michael Clapper, co-founder of Vapestick, Chairman of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) and President-International at Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation said:

"At Vapestick we are calling on all employers to actively encourage smokers to use e-cigarettes in the workplace, in order to reduce smoking breaks, which not only have serious financial implications but also of course damage the health of employees."

A decade ago I remember commenting on workplace initiatives that effectively forced smokers to go on smoking cessation programmes. If I remember, employers were also encouraged to subsidise or even give staff free nicotine patches.

'Vaping in the Workplace' is just another smoking cessation programme based on the dubious claim that smokers who take three cigarette breaks a day are costing their employer, on average, £5.61 per day.

What's interesting is that Vapestick, whose founder is chairman of the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association, are not just promoting their brand of e-cigarette, they are actively encouraging the prohibition of smoking during the working day.

Commercially it might make sense. In the greater scheme of things, it stinks.

Anyway, this was Forest's response:

"All workers are entitled to a break and a smoking break gives many smokers a chance to think and refocus. Far from costing their employer money, it can be time well spent.

"Electronic cigarettes offer a useful alternative to smoking and there are some very good arguments why employers should tolerate their use in and around the workplace.

"However, making ludicrous claims about how much smoking breaks cost employers will not endear smokers to this particular company.

"E-cigarettes are a great invention but insulting your target audience, many of whom are dual users of both devices, is a funny way to market a product."

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Reader Comments (13)

Vapestick, Njoy, and Elites should all be boycotted by smokers and vapers. All promote smokers as excluded undesirables or lazy employees.

That's why if I ever go on to E-cigs, I'll go for one made by a tobacco company. Not only do they know what their consumers want from the "smoking" experience, but they also know how to treat them with respect.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 9:44 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Anyone who is serious about vaping will avoid brands such as Vapestick like the plague, and use second and third generation devices. As a full time vaper, I believe people have the right to smoke if they wish.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 11:52 | Unregistered CommenterNeptune

If the e-cig manufactures are sucking up anti smoking ideology the hope that their industry will be left alone, they're in for a shock.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 11:58 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

The important point is that everyone has the same total length of breaks and smokers should be able to choose to smoke in theirs, rather than eat, chat, look at facebook, etc.

I'll post a thread about this on UKVapers. If Vapestick is using these (false) claims of money lost, then there will be plenty of people who don't agree. As the Anti Non-medicinal Nicotine Industry keeps telling us, many vapers are also smokers. Many vapers, including myself, are still in violent disagreement with the smoking ban, which was based on fraudulent science. What makes it worse is the co founder of Vapestick being chairman of ECITA.

A secondary point is the influence of the cig-a-like industry, eg Vapestick, making it very difficult to counter the false claim that a cartridge is equivalent to 20 or even 40 cigarettes, when it is in fact equivalent to between 5 and 7. This makes it easier for the Government to justify banning refillable tanks and cartridges.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 13:18 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

Whilst it should come as no surprise that there are illiberal, ban happy idiots within the e-cig industry, moreso in view of the perceived commercial advantage to be gained, I'm still very disappointed by this idiocy.

Also not surprised that it comes from someone promoting the lowest common denominator products.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 15:22 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Wintersgill

Well I'm shocked at the response of the people commenting on UKV. The result of the, admittedly small, self-selected sample, supports yours and Pat's view, which I didn't previously believe, that vapers have a low opinion of smokers and support anti smoking measures. Here is my response to them:

I disagree that smoking breaks cost firms money. This is one of the many false claims of the Anti Tobacco Industry. As I said in my comment below the (Forest) article, smokers should be given the same breaks as non smokers, in which case they are on average equally productive. I am not arguing that smokers should be allowed to smoke at their desks, or that vaping should not be allowed. I vape at my desk and I'm grateful that I can. However, I don't mind people smelling of tobacco - some of my best friends do, my father once did and, until recently, I did; and if anyone thinks that attacking smokers and smoking will help the cause of vapers, they are sadly mistaken.

As to whether vapers should be concerned about attacks on smokers and smoking: they should remember that they will be next. Those who brought in the smoking ban are now targeting alcohol and supposedly unhealthy food. They don't care that vaping might be more pleasant to some people and know that like you who label smokers as smelly, and smoking in some way unacceptable, there are large numbers who think vaping is smelly or deviant who will support any future anti vaping measures. I think that, almost certainly, vaping will be eventually banned in workplaces. Vapers will be out with the smokers. OOPs, they won't, because, with the support of vapers, the unprofessional look of people puffing outside the office entrance will no longer exist. You will be back with the smokers - all chewing on that disgusting gum, and you'll have yourselves to blame.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 17:38 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

Jonathan Bagley - you are lovely xxx

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 18:28 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I have to disagree with most on this.
I think what Vapestick is saying is ingenious. Think about it, they're asking employers to eliminate 'smoke breaks' and let people vape at work. We all know that 'smoke breaks' do not exist. Everyone is mandated to take the same amount of break time, whether they smoke or not. Those breaks are Federal law (at least in US). They HAVE to be taken by the employee.
So in essence, Vapestick is asking employers to let employees vape while working and that's all..

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 21:53 | Unregistered CommenterMe

"Well I'm shocked at the response of the people commenting on UKV."

I'm not. UKV jumped the shark long ago.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 21:53 | Unregistered CommenterFergusM

It's the slanderous allegation that implies we're skivers who cost our employers time and money - and therefore take more breaks than other people because of our "pathetic addiction" - that's so offensive.

It isn't done to help vapers consume nicotine at their desks - it's done to make money and profit by beating up an easy and unpopular target again with a view to forcing them onto this plastic dummy alternative.

Some vapers couldn't care less how smokers are abused or slandered clearly. Wait til you're next - and you will be - and when that day comes I'll be there demanding "Eviiiiiiiiiiil" E Cig companies are forced out of business too.

Vapestick - reap what you sow.

Friday, May 9, 2014 at 7:45 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

You may be interested in this - a month or so ago, the e-cigarette maker Go-Lites issued a press release regarding lost time with smoking breaks - I sent an email to them registering my objection to them jumping on the anti-smoking bandwagon...

This is what I sent..


I've just read your press release regarding lost time through smoking breaks.

As a heavy e-cig user and now occasional normal smoker, I am very concerned that Go Lites has turned on smokers.

I can assure you that I will make sure never to use your products - and I am sharing your press release and my views with my vaping friends.


Mark Butcher

This is the response...

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your reply. I assure you that was never the intention from me or anyone at Go-Lites – we never intended to cause any bad feeling in the smoking or vaping community. The piece you’re referring to is simply trying to alert smokers and employers to a potential alternative to smoking, which I’m sure you’ll agree as an e-cig user yourself, has plenty of benefits.

The team at Go-Lites are not anti-smoking, and alienating the community of smokers is not something that was ever aimed for. I am currently coordinating with Go-Lites to ensure that all future releases are better thought out, and will focus on uniting vapers and smokers rather than isolating one of the two.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any more views you’d like to air.

Many thanks,


Friday, May 9, 2014 at 10:56 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

It doesn't really make much difference in Wigan. E-cigs are banned in all council buildings as well as cigarettes.

Not much choice here for people, other than rain, so we may as well have the real thing - a proper ciggie.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 2:23 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Its obviously a mucky marketing tactic by "Big Pockets" Vapestick. Unfortunately more money than sense. I can see they appointed some massive PR firms and a huge $22m to spend on marketing campaigns.

I dual use. I have my breaks at work, sometime smoke in those, sometimes I just enjoy wind-down time. What gives anyone the right to suggest I lose my company money?

I bought a few Vapesticks in my time but like the rest of these people here, its the one brand i shall go out of my way to avoid. Who the hell is in charge of their company? He/she really needs a stern "talking to"!

Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 14:09 | Unregistered CommenterMee

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