ecigarettes in restaurants

Should You Allow E-Cigarettes?

In the past, we’ve covered the concept of allowing (or disallowing) e-cigarettes in your restaurant. In our coverage, we mention that you should

note that electronic cigarettes (commonly referred to as “e-cigarettes” or “personal vaporizer”) are not the exact same as traditional cigarettes. These devices do not produce smoke, preventing nearby parties from secondhand smoke, nor pose the fire hazard of traditional cigarettes. Keep abreast of these devices, as they are being heavily focused on.

What is the science behind e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are small devices, cigarette sized and shaped in some situations, that use a small charge to atomize pure liquid nicotine. In many cases, flavors are added. They emit a fog, not smoke. While they don’t include tobacco, these flavors are theorized to be appealing to youths. While not FDA approved, they have been reported to cut cigarette usage more than FDA-approved methods. The fact that they are new and not FDA-approved means that their long-term effects are unknown.

Eatocracy has brought up concerns about the standard smoking in restaurants, and how it presents unhealthy working conditions for employees. In comparison, they’ve noted the benefits of e-cigarettes over regular ones.

  • There’s no smell, as the “smoke” that comes from e-cigarettes is just a vapor with no smell.
  • By nature, they’re a bit greener than regular cigarettes, as they don’t leave ash, butts, or smoke. E-cigarette users will have to dispose of batteries.
  • E-cigarettes, as they can be smoked at the table, allow for consumers to be ready at their seat when food comes, instead of possibly being outside for a smoke when hot food arrives, waiting to be eaten.
  • These cigarettes contain nicotine, but that’s the only apparent negative ingredient to your health.

In comparison, the negatives about e-cigarettes include

  • A changing legal landscape means that, while they may be legal now, they may not if politicians and law makers campaign to treat them the same as cigarettes.
  • Visuals may prove to be an issue. They may just look silly to some, but many replicate the appearance of an actual cigarette, and could possibly confuse employees and consumers on how to react.

Should you allow e-cigarettes in your restaurant? For the moment, it seems to be very acceptable. The mist and vapor won’t prove to be any problem to the food, you can keep your customers in their seats (allowing them to spend less time, but potentially order more), and you can keep your smoking customers happy. If non-smoking customers raise questions about the ability for e-cigarette smokers to smoke in your restaurant, you may explain the situation or politely ask the smoker to take it outside. Definitely keep an eye on the advances in this technology and if the Food and Druge Administration make any decisions on the type of technology.  This is one situation that may not be clear at the moment, and restaurant owners like yourselves might have to help decide the national course of action.