The E-cigarette: Navigating Uncharted Territory

By Lonnie Giamela Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP | June 15, 2014

Co-authored by John Mavros, Attorney, Fisher & Phillips, LLP

Employers in hospitality have the difficult task of balancing public perception and guest expectations with their many legal obligations. Developments in technology often complicate those responsibilities. Online bookings have created new ADA obligations. Social networking has blurred the lines between an employee's workplace conduct and private conduct. Now, the e-cigarette has become a focal point of the public discussion raising important questions for hospitality employers.

What's The Big Deal?

The electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is similar to a traditional tobacco cigarette, except that the e-cigarette employs electricity to vaporize a packaged cocktail of water, nicotine, and assorted chemicals. Unlike a traditional cigarette, the e-cigarette does not emit the signature odor of tobacco smoke. In fact, unless infused with an additional flavor, the vapor can be virtually odorless.

Critics view the device with skepticism. Given the novel nature of the device, very little is known about any long-term effects of vaping and whether there are any negative side-effects from second-hand vaping. An e-cigarette emits vapor that strongly resembles cigarette smoke from afar and the similarities can be confusing to bystanders. Another potential drawback is whether e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.

Proponents laud the device for its liberating qualities. When introduced a decade ago, the e-cigarette was championed as the ultimate compromise between smokers' and non-smokers' rights. They point to the health benefits of e-cigarette use, including helping people quit smoking. Although the replaceable cartridges have varying dosages of nicotine, e-cigarettes do not have the chemicals that traditional cigarettes contain, including tar. It also has enabled smokers to consume nicotine discretely in places they cannot smoke. As a benefit to employers, proponents point out that employees are able to "vape" at their desk, which means fewer breaks and ostensibly a greater degree of productivity and efficiency on the job.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

S. Lakshmi Narasimhan
Paul van Meerendonk
Tara K. Gorman
Andrew Glincher
Yuriy Boykiv
Peter Goldmann
Bryan Green
Michelle Millar
William A. Brewer III
Robert O'Halloran
Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.