Back in 2018, Florida voted to ban vaping in enclosed workplaces. The new law went into effect in July of 2019, but Florida isn’t alone in its ban on vaping in the workplace. Several other states, including California, New Jersey, and New York, all prohibit the practice in any place where smoking is not permitted, while other states have bans for specific settings, such as in enclosed workspaces or schools.
As more states take action to prevent vaping in workplaces, it’s a good time for business owners both in Florida and outside the state to figure out what they need to do to prepare their company from past and future legislation.
What Does Florida’s Workplace Vape Ban Mean for Business Owners?
There are a couple of different takeaways for Florida’s ban on vaping in the workplace. The first perspective is what it immediately means for business owners in The Sunshine State. In short, the state now prohibits both vaping and smoking in “enclosed indoor workplaces.” This term is a technical way of saying the ban exists for any workspace that is predominantly closed in by walls or other physical barriers, regardless of whether they have windows or any other uncovered openings. Private residences used for work are exempt from the ban, except in limited exceptions where the residence acts as one of the following:
- A childcare, adult care, or health care provider
- A retail tobacco or vape shop
- A bar that does not serve food
The other perspective involves businesses outside of Florida that either have some form of workplace vape ban in place or operate in a location without any such legislation. For the former group, it’s important to look up the details of your state’s laws. For the latter, Florida’s ban is yet another example of a state cracking down on vaping. In fact, you may want to be proactive about establishing vaping policies in your workplace.
What Should Business Owners Do About Vaping?
For businesses in Florida and other states with vape bans, the answer is simple: Set clear guidelines regarding smoking and vaping prohibitions. This policy should clearly state that employees are prohibited from smoking or vaping in enclosed workspaces per your local laws. In addition, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests taking the following steps:
- List the procedures for when the proprietor or other person in charge witnesses or is made aware of a violation
- Post signs to indicate that smoking or vaping, or both, are prohibited
As for business owners in locations without any vaping-related regulations, they need to decide if they want to treat vaping the same way as traditional smoking. While allowing employees to vape in the workplace will help limit time lost from smoke breaks and keep those who vape pleased, this decision can come at the cost of another employee’s happiness. It also doesn’t help that the Centers for Disease Control deems e-cigarettes as potentially unsafe.
Ultimately, the decision to have a vaping policy is up to the business owner if there’s no existing legislation that dictates otherwise. If a decision is made to prohibit vaping in the workplace, SHRM suggests doing the following:
- Evaluate existing smoking policies and clarify what smoking products are covered what areas of the worksite are non-smoking spaces
- Make it clear whether employees can bring e-cigarettes into certain areas when not in use or if they’re completely banned from the property
- Update the company’s clean-air policy to reference e-cigarettes and other vaping products (if a clean-air policy exists)
- Inform employees of any workplace policy changes before they take effect (60 to 90 days' notice is good except in the case where the state stipulates rollout times)
Keep Your Business Prepared for the Future
No matter where your business is located, it’s important to keep up to date on key legislation that can make your current workplace policies go up in smoke. As a Professional Employer Organization, GMS has the experts on hand to make sure your business stays compliant with new laws while also saving you time and stress by managing key functions like payroll, benefits administration, and other important services.
Ready to make managing your business a lot simpler? Contact our Florida office or one of our other locations today to talk to one of our experts about how we can help your business prepare for the future.