Should Electronic cigarettes be allowed in the workplace?

One of the biggest companies in Scotland, Standard Life, bans electric cigarettes from the work place saying it breaches their no smoking policies.

Scottish finance firm Standard Life employs 9,000 people in Edinburgh alone and feels that smoking electric cigarettes is still smoking despite the fact that electronic cigarettes do not contain any harmful carcinogens.

Electric cigarettes contain a flavoured liquid called e-juice which is vaporised when breath is drawn through the electric cigarette. A small battery powers an atomiser which heats the e-juice and causes it to vaporise much like how a humidifier or nebuliser works. Electric cigarettes do vaporise but this is a harmless and odourless vapour and is essentially steam. Often electric cigarettes have a LED light at the end of them which are normally blue, red or green making them look like tobacco cigarettes.

As electric cigarettes do not contain tobacco or tar, there are no carcinogens and therefore electric cigarettes are a far healthier alternative to tobacco smoking. Though, while there is no tobacco in electric cigarettes, there is however nicotine which is highly addictive.

Standard Life “has been a non-smoking company for over 20 years and we have no plans to introduce e-cigarettes. We are very active in the promotion of staff’s health and well-being.”

“We encourage and support staff if they decide to stop smoking through our occupational health department and the availability of on-site smoking cessation classes.”


Electric cigarettes are very popular with many A-list celebrities choosing to smoke then including Britney Spears and Kate Moss. They are quickly replacing the tobacco equivalent with one manufacture alone boasting over 20,000 sales in Scotland. Much of this is dues to the health advantages but the cost is a big factor with electric cigarette working out significantly cheaper.

Electric cigarette starter kits can be purchased from around £25 and normally come with a rechargeable battery and several refills. Disposable electric cigarettes can be purchased for significantly less if you are simply looking to try one.

Despite Standard Life banning electric cigarettes, many of Scotland’s biggest companies allow them including Lloyd’s Banking group, who own Scottish Widows and HBOS. While Lloyd’s Banking Group also has a strict anti-smoking policy, this does not include electric cigarettes. Glasgow and Edinburgh City Council also allow electric cigarettes.

Even the British government “nudge unit” supports electric cigarettes as they believe that electric cigarettes could potentially save thousands of lives as they are a far healthier alternative.