Vaping at Work Is Common and Harmful, Employees Say

Most employees see vaping in the workplace, and believe that it adversely affects health and productivity, reports a survey study in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Employees “feel impacted by coworker vaping, with the presence of vapor clouds and coworkers taking breaks to vape a regular part of their environment,” according to the new research by Alexa R. Romberg, PhD, of Truth Initiative, Washington, DC, and colleagues. They performed a national survey with 1,607 employees of medium to very large employers.

About 62 percent of respondents said they observed their coworkers vaping at work, while 19 percent reported vaping at work themselves. Two-thirds of employees who vaped also smoked cigarettes. Vaping was more common in certain groups, particularly men and younger employees; and in certain industries, such as information technology.

The participants perceived vaping in the workplace as harmful overall: on a three-point perceived harm scale, the average score was 1.94 on a scale. Sixty-three percent of employees said they were bothered by vaping at work, and about half believed it led to decreased productivity among nonusers. Those who had never used e-cigarettes—nearly 60 percent of respondents—were more likely to be bothered by workplace vaping.

Vaping has increased in popularity in recent years. While previous studies have focused on teens, evidence suggests that eight million US adults use e-cigarettes: more than three percent of the general adult population.
The new study is the first to examine the prevalence of and attitudes toward vaping in the workplace. “Vaping is present in the workplace in medium to very large companies and has ramifications for employee health, morale and productivity,” the results suggest.

 “Understanding vaping behaviors in the workplace is critical to developing company policies and government regulations that ensure clean indoor air and a healthy work environment,” Dr. Romberg and colleagues conclude. “Employers and regulatory agencies should consider how policies can support the health and wellbeing of both users and non-users of e-cigarettes.”
About the Author
Dr. Romberg may be contacted for interviews at
ACOEM (, an international society of 4,000 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.
About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine ( is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.


Romberg AR, Diaz MC, Briggs J, et al. Vaping in the workplace: prevalence and attitudes among employed US adults. J Occup Environ Med. 2021;63(1):10-17.