California business law and compliance attorneys
Since e-cigarettes became widely available in the United States around 2008, they have become increasingly popular, especially among teens and those trying to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 9 million people use e-cigarettes regularly, and about 12.5 percent of the population has tried them at least once.
Since e-cigarettes are significantly different than traditional cigarettes, and since they are relatively new to the market, state and federal laws are rushing to regulate the product. Recently, though, California updated its state laws regarding smoking in the workplace and, as part of its update, clarified that “smoking” includes the use of any kind of e-cigarette or vaporizer.
California Workplace Smoking Restrictions
In June 2015, the California state government approved a package of six anti-tobacco laws. These laws included a number of changes, including raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21. Two of the laws affect California employers:
ABX2-6 added e-cigarettes and vaporizers to the list of tobacco products referred to in other smoking laws. Specifically, it expanded the definition of smoking to, “the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking.”
ABX2-7 added a number of previously excluded workplaces to the list of workplaces where cigarette smoking is prohibited, including hotel lobbies, small businesses, break rooms, banquet rooms, bars, taverns, warehouses, and tobacco retailers.
Previously, smoking in the workplace laws made exceptions for businesses with five or fewer employees. Now, however, the only type of business that can allow smoking in the workplace is an owner-operated, single-employee business that does not have visitors or in-person clients.
Old workplace smoking laws also made exceptions for places like tobacco shops or hotels, but those exceptions are no more.
In all cases, any workplace that bans smoking traditional cigarettes should now also be banning e-cigarettes.
Finally, it’s important to note that these new laws override local laws and are meant to standardize tobacco laws across the state.
Some legislators opposed the new e-cigarette laws, arguing that vaporizers are healthier and may help users of traditional tobacco products kick their habit. Others opposed the new e-cigarette laws because the vaporizer industry has boosted job creation and helps the economy.
In addition to expanding the definition of cigarettes to include e-cigarettes, the new package of tobacco laws also now requires e-cigarettes to have tamper-proof packaging.
Consult With A Knowledgeable California Employment Attorney Today
Whether you want to make certain that your business is compliant with current California law, or whether you are facing the possibility of litigation, CKB VIENNA LLP is here to help. We have experience with all sizes and types of establishments, from Fortune 500 companies to small family-run businesses. If you would like to speak to an attorney or schedule a consultation, please call one of our offices today or contact us using this short online form.
We have offices in the following California counties:
Rancho Cucamonga County
San Bernardino County
Los Angeles County