Researchers to explore workplace regulations on vaping

Researchers from our University will be examining the difficulties of regulating e-cigarettes and if heavy regulations could be encouraging users to move back to combustible tobacco as part of a new project funded by Cancer Research UK.

Dr Charlotte Smith, from our School of Business, in collaboration with Professor Jason Hughes and Dr Grace Sykes from our School of Media, Communication and Sociology, has recently been awarded £26,000 from Cancer Research UK’s Tobacco Advisory Group, as part of a project totalling £103,000.

The project titled ‘The Regulation of E-Cigarettes in and Around Organisational Lives’, will begin this month.

The research will explore the complexities of regulating e-cigarettes in non-statutory policies. For example, if e-cigarettes are too heavily regulated in the workplace, it may paradoxically encourage users to move back to combustible tobacco.

Dr Smith, Lecturer in Management, said: “E-cigarette usage is potentially the most significant grass roots shift in public health behaviours over the last century, and whilst recent EU legislation has introduced a range of measures aimed at restricting the sale, marketing, advertising, packaging, and supply of e-cigarette devices and consumables, in the UK there are no statutory restrictions on vaping in the workplace or other public places.

“Notwithstanding this, many workplaces and public places have developed quite wide-ranging policies and restrictions on e-cigarette consumption.”

Professor Hughes said: “If vapers are pushed ‘on to the doorstep’ alongside smokers, what are the implications for how they think about vaping?

“Might, for example, those users who see it as a means of smoking cessation be encouraged instead to think about it as ‘just another’ means of recreational nicotine use?”

The project will reduce systemic confusion on vaping practice and consider how non-statutory policies inform, as well as become informed by notions of relative risk.