As companies realize how much employee health affects productivity, engagement, and overall success, supporting them in quitting harmful habits is vital.
While many think vaping is a “safer” alternative to smoking, there are still a lot of risks. Since e-cigarettes are a relatively recent development, scientists continually discover potential hazards associated with their use.
E-cigarettes can contain more nicotine than traditional cigarettes. Since nicotine is a highly addictive substance, your employees need all the help they can get to quit. And they shouldn’t have to do it alone!
Here are key reasons why employers should encourage vaping cessation.
Vaping Health Risks for Employees
Employers must understand that vaping is not as harmless as it may seem. Contrary to the widespread misconception, electronic cigarettes (vapes) aren't just water vapor. They often contain various harmful substances like heavy metals and toxic chemicals. These substances can lead to dangerous health issues for your employees.
Inhaling harmful chemicals from e-cigarettes can compromise lung function, leading to persistent coughing, wheezing, and respiratory discomfort. Vaping can also trigger respiratory issues like chronic inflammation and lung irritation while worsening asthma.
Another emerging concern is bronchiolitis obliterans, commonly known as “popcorn lung.” It’s typically caused by inhaling chemical compounds like diacetyl, flavoring agents used in microwave popcorn and e-cigarettes. Symptoms of popcorn lung include:
- chronic cough
- shortness of breath
Vaping has raised significant cardiovascular concerns due to its impact on the circulatory system. The aerosol produced by e-cigarettes contains harmful chemicals known to cause endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and oxidative stress. These issues contribute to the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels, which can increase the risk of:
- blood clots
Additionally, studies show that vaping can strain the cardiovascular system by increasing heart rate and blood pressure. These combined effects may escalate preexisting heart conditions.
More Frequent Illness
Vaping can weaken the immune system and impair the lung's natural defense mechanisms, making it easier for infections to take hold. According to recent research, inhaling harmful chemicals and particles from vaping can irritate the respiratory tract and compromise its ability to prevent infections.
Moreover, some studies suggest that vaping may suppress the activity of immune cells in the lungs, reducing the body's ability to fight off infections.
Due to the health concerns vaping causes, individuals who vape, as well as their employers, might experience increased healthcare costs due to higher medical claims.
Generally, employers offering health insurance coverage to their employees base premiums on the expected healthcare expenses of their workforce. If your employees vape and experience health issues, it can lead to higher medical costs and raise your insurance premiums. This is particularly problematic if vaping-related problems lead to hospitalizations, doctor visits, medications, and ongoing treatments.
By prioritizing employee well-being and providing resources to quit vaping, you can reduce the impact of vaping-related health issues on healthcare premiums over time. These strategies include offering smoking cessation programs, wellness initiatives, and education campaigns about the risks of vaping.
Employee health directly influences productivity, absenteeism, and presenteeism – all of which affect your bottom line. Imagine having an employee consistently under the weather or taking frequent vape breaks. Or worse yet, employees are absent due to the health problems caused by vaping. This disrupts workflow, compromises team efficiency, and inflates healthcare costs.
Offering a smoking or vaping cessation program is a significant first step in creating a healthier, safer, and more productive workplace for your employees.
The emerging evidence on vaping health risks presents a compelling case for why employers should actively advocate vaping cessation.
Vaping can cost your business big bucks by increasing healthcare costs and decreasing productivity. To mitigate these issues, you can encourage smoking cessation in the workplace. Establishing a vape-free policy and offering a customized smoking cessation program like Pivot Breathe is a great place to start.
- Espinoza-Derout J, et al. (2022). Electronic Cigarette Use and the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases.
- Kalininskiy A, et al. (2021). E-Cigarette Exposures, Respiratory Tract Infections, and Impaired Innate Immunity: A Narrative Review.
- Kuntic M, et al. (2020). Short-Term E-Cigarette Vapour Exposure Causes Vascular Oxidative Stress and Dysfunction: Evidence for a Close Connection to Brain Damage and a Key Role of the Phagocytic NADPH Oxidase (NOX-2).
- Martin EM, et al. (2016). E-cigarette Use Results in Suppression of Immune and Inflammatory-Response Genes in Nasal Epithelial Cells Similar to Cigarette Smoke.
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