The government’s new Tobacco Control Plan recommends that electronic cigarettes be permitted in the office in an attempt to create a ‘smoke free generation’.
The aim of the plan is to increase the availability of safer options to smoking, as the government attempts to reduce smoking rates by one quarter in adults.
Whitehall’s new-found permissive attitude towards electronic cigarettes represents something of a turn around as the administration had previously appeared somewhat lukewarm to the virtues of the new technology.
It is hoped that a concerted effort to raise awareness of alternatives to smoking could lead to younger generations being completely smoke free.
The newly published government plan sets out to remind employers that electronic cigarettes are not outlawed by smoke free legislation meaning that they should not be featured in workplace policies that ban smoking.
“The evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco,” the plan states.
“The government will seek to support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products.”
The safety of e-cigarettes is being more frequently mentioned in anti-smoking campaigns and the Department of Health is currently in the process of monitoring evidence about their use.
“Britain is a world leader in tobacco control, and our tough action in the past decade has seen smoking rates in England fall to an all-time low of 15.5 per cent. But our vision is to create a smoke-free generation,” Public health minister Steve Brine commented.
It will be down to individual businesses to decide if they will adapt their policies or choose to ignore the government’s advice.