Cloud of smoke surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes in Scottish companies.

An 117mm electronic cigarette.

SMOKERS at one of Scotland’s biggest companies have been banned from using electronic cigarettes at their desks.

Finance firm Standard Life say the e-cigs – which contain a nicotine solution but produce no smoke – breach their strict no-smoking rules.

A-list celebrities including Kate Moss, Britney Spears and Johnny Depp have been known to use e-cigs and one manufacturer alone claims to have 20,000 customers north of the border.

The battery-powered “healthy” cigarettes, which typically cost £20 – £30, heat up the nicotine solution, giving users a hit of their favourite drug and producing steam. A red LED at the tip of the e-cig completes the effect.

But Standard Life, which employs 9,000 people in Edinburgh, says e-cig users will have to go outside to get their fix like regular cigarette users.

She said: “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.”

Some of Scotland’s biggest public sector employers do allow e-cigs. Glasgow City Council confirmed staff were allowed to use the devices at their desks. Workers at Edinburgh City Council are also free to switch on their e-cigs after the authority said it had “no policy”.

And Lloyds Banking Group – which includes Scottish Widows and HBOS – said that while they were anti-smoking they did not have a company policy on e-cigs.

Prof John Britton, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, said that e-cigarettes had the potential to save millions of lives.

He said: “The likelihood is that smoking electronic cigarettes is better than smoking tobacco.

“Electronic cigarettes have the potential to save lives. The concept of nicotine replacement is powerful and good.”

Pro-smoking organisation Forest accused Standard Life of treating staff like children.

Director Simon Clark said: “It is utterly crazy. A lot of smokers use them to help them to cut down on smoking, or to try to quit. If companies don’t want them to go outside for extended periods then allowing them to smoke an electronic cigarette at their desk seems logical.”

“It is completely ridiculous to ban them. If it’s because they look from a distance like cigarettes then they are basically treating workers like children.”

SkyCig, one of the distributors of e-cigarettes in Scotland claims to have around 20,000 customers and to have replaced 24 million cigarettes across the UK last year.

But Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of anti-tobacco charity ASH Scotland said it supported Standard Life.

She said: “If a company wants to ban e-cigarettes in their offices that could help avoid the impression that smoking is normal or desirable thing.

“Tobacco is not a normal product – it kills half of its consumers if used as intended.

“E-Cigarettes are much less harmful than normal cigarettes and some people may find them useful in helping them to quit smoking, however there is still a lot of research to be done both on their safety and on their effectiveness as a stop-smoking aid.”

E-cigs use replaceable nicotine solution cartridges which may contain up to 16mg of nicotine in solution.

On inhalation the cartridge is heated and a fine mist is produced which is absorbed into the lungs.

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  1. I use an electronic cigarette all day every day as a replacement for the smoking of tobacco, I am not cutting down or quitting I am just continuing smoking in a safer way.
    The electronic cigarette I use looks nothing like a cigarette and does not have a glowing red end – indeed the more responsible manufacturers have started producing devices which are not look alike devices to avoid confusion.
    The least of these being cigarette sized but black (or other colours) and with a blue light (some with other colours).
    Up to 16mg/ml of nicotine (please note the correction of the measurement) ? – I use 22mg/ml in mine and others use up to 36mg/ml.

    I agree that it is up to each premises to decide if they want electronic smokers or not inside.
    Does this not however lead the e smokers to the temptation of just returning to real cigarettes and doing themselves more harm since their workplace is not supporting them in trying a healthier alternative.

  2. Great to see a balanced report on the subject for once, At the end of the Day it’s all about money. Yes I vape but I’m not an idiot, There are social environments I choose not to use my device even though by law I’m perfectly entitled to.

    But on that subject the decision is will always be with the owner of the establishment, and that’s as it should be.

  3. I have been using an e-cig for over 2 years now.
    Every Doctor and every health practitioner that I have spoken to about my use of the e-cig has congratulated me on its use and most have actually said that they are a great invention and will save millions of lives.
    I have been allowed to use them in the Great Western Hospital with the Sisters permission and have only ever been asked not to use it once during the two years plus. That was in a ‘Harvester’ type establishment because people at the other end of the building might confuse it with a real cigarette and be put off of their meals. This didn’t cause a problem and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.
    E-cigs are usually allowed in offices as it helps improve the work flow because users do not have to shuffle outside every hour to ‘top-up’ their nicotine levels.
    Once the employers realise that they are paying their workers for at least 80 minutes a day smoke breaks they might want to look again at their ruling.
    Perhaps they could recommend the e-cig that is named after themselves

  4. 9 months ago after 50+yrs of smoking I found ecigs and have not had a real cigarette since.

    I started with the cigarette look alike and very soon “graduated” to personal vaping devices, these are larger and look nothing like a cigarette.

    I mix my own juices form the basic materials and add nicotine to suit. I have 15-20 different flavours, such as caramel, coffee, stout, cherry, apple all are beverage or fruit taste, I use no tobacco flavours. The normal dosage for nicotine is 18mg/ml but it can be anything from 0 to 36mg/ml, I have now reduced to 2mg/m (and on some flavours I use ).

    Having tried, piIls, patches, hypno and anything else I only wish they had invented them earlier.

  5. What a shame Standard Life have taken the regressive approach to the electronic cigarette issue. There is a fundamental logic that appears to have been largely ignored; society has a heavily entrenched Nicotine culture that is unlikely to ever go away. The British Medical Association have written an extensive report on the matter and it noted that Nicotine itself (Being non carcinogenic) does not warrant any major cause for concern if it is delivered in products that eradicate the need for tobacco. So, the logic failure is this; People who have chosen to switch to electronic cigarettes have made a lifestyle choice where they have stepped away from the massively toxic killer that is a tobacco cigarette. Electronic cigarettes may by appearance deliberately mimic the aesthetic of a tobacco cigarette but all similarities end beyond that point. E-cigs do not pollute the air with carcinogenic smoke or tar particles nor do they emit carbon monoxide. Office workers dependant on Nicotine do not have to schedule time away from the desk to get their fix. If Standard life have a problem with Nicotine addiction, then do they have a stringent policy on the use of Nicotine gum/patches or oral sprays? The answer is probably ‘No’. Companies should take a far more progressive thinking approach to how their workers deal with chemical dependancy, after all most people drink coffee without being vilified and lots of people enjoy a drink after work. It could be argued that in both instances, potentially harmful dependancies are being enjoyed both in and out of the workplace. Standard Life would have been respected more if it had considered, ‘Does the electronic cigarette harm any employees who are not directly using it?’ There is no ‘passive vaping ‘ phenomenon, the inhaled Nicotine is absorbed into the lungs, the exhaled mist is water vapour. As I read recently, unless it were possible to drown someone via passive vapour inhalation, then there really isn’t a problem. If you have switched from regular cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, you have become an ex-smoker. This is the bottom line. Standard Life have obviously missed this point.

  6. History shows the rise and fall of puritans in society. Unfortunately quasi-scientific arguements based on dubious statistical analysis hold sway. Still as the Chinese curse goes “May you live in interesting times”.

  7. E cigarettes are not smoking, the law clearly defines smoking as: tobacco that has been lit. since e cigarettes contain neither tobacco or a flame of any sorts it is NOT SMOKING. it’s by product is water vapour: steam. is standard life going to ban kettles as well? this is more about control over their workers. it’s funny really we despise dictors of foreign countries yet we all go to work in a dictatorship, your employer dictates your working conditions.

  8. I smoked for 45 years and have COPD as a result of smoking i tried patchs pills nic inhailor gum just about everything but nothing worked
    I started using a e cig 6 months ago and have only had one drag of a cig since and it tasted terrible
    While it wont cure my COPD my spirometory test as improved and i feel better
    My lung specilist is happy for me to continue using my e cig
    I dont work or sell for any e cig company

  9. may i suggest emailing the company saying you will not be using their services and state your reason, and you will be recommending others to do the same, vote with your wallet!..this has to stop somewhere…these things are saving peoples lives.

  10. I had smoked for the biggest part of my life,but have now been vaping for over two years and i do not ever want to become a smoker again,If companies like this are allowed to carry on with this sort of bahavour which i am not sure that they are,then what chance is there of stopping the thousands of people that do have the filthy habit.when will these people get real.

  11. If Sheila Duffy of ASH Scotland & Standard Life wish to ban e-cigs merely because it looks like smoking, perhaps they should go the whole hog and ban their staff from drinking water – after all it may look as if the staff are drinking vodka!

  12. I am waiting for my first e cig to arrive and I have to say I’m looking forward to that more than any cigarette I have ever craved! I’ve read loads of reviews and cannot see the harm in using these whatsoever – quite frankly if it removes the health risk for me and saves me money I will be over the moon.
    I’m really confused with companies like standard life though taking the view that employees still have to go outside with the real smokers – after all that is exposing them to passive smoke when they are obviously trying to cut down or quit! Are they not infringing the rights of the employee to stay smoke free? Also, and i know this will sound really morbid, but its true – with the business they are in encouraging the increase of life expectancy in their employees could help them cut down levels of absence due to smoking related illness, sick pay and ultimately death in service payments and more customers may outlive their term assurance policies thereby reducing payouts – seems simple to me – but maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

  13. What if it doesn’t look like a real cigarette? There are lots of models out there that don’t look like tobacco cigs at all like this one which looks more like a pen. So even if there were children at the workplace (which there logically shouldn’t be) it would be obvious that it wasn’t a tobacco product. That, and the lack of disgusting smell.

  14. Don’t you get sick and tired of puritans like Sheila Duffy? If they weren’t so stupid perhaps they would realise that every time they started their car they are pumping out more pollutants than a thousand + e-cigs ever would! It’s sad that a high number of these same people probably frequent fast food joints with their kids “as a treat”. Obesity is becoming a bigger problem if it isn’t already than smoking. Next time you’re out just take a look around you and see what I mean.
    I can imagine them starting another bandwagon as they see themselves and their kids becoming more obese because of they’re lazy puritan lifestyles. The whole point is e-cigs are a much more healthier alternative to real cigs and a great deal healthier than a burger from a well known so called restaurant. Puritans, do us all a favour, until you can be bothered to educate yourselves on the topic in question keep your mouths shut and save yourselves from future embarrassment on your current lack of understanding and ignorance.

  15. It’s ridiculous to treat e-cigarettes like normal cigs. They contain only one dangerous substation – nicotine. After few weeks of vaping you can’t smoke normal cigs because they taste awful.

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