Vaping in schools


Are teachers and school staff allowed to vape on school premises? 

GOV.UK explains that smoking isn’t allowed in any enclosed workplace, public building or on public transport in the UK. 

However, it explains that the law doesn’t apply to e-cigarettes/vaping. Employers can decide if they can be used on their premises.

E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace.

If an employer decides to ‘prohibit’ the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.

We would advise school staff to read their school policies on smoking/vaping to look at the specific details in your setting.

Vaping in schools: advice from ACAS

ACAS has published advice for employers and employees on the use of e-cigarettes or vaping in the workplace. 

It is hosted on the National Archives website but is still relevant for schools. It explains:

  • Some employees use e-cigarettes as part of a plan to stop smoking, so employers may want to support their use if this is the case
  • If e-cigarettes are allowed at work, line managers should be aware of who may be using them within their teams. It is best to make it a rule that line management approval is needed to use e-cigarettes in the workplace
  • Employers should be clear about what their rules on the use of e-cigarettes at work are. If they have a policy on smoking or one on drugs and alcohol then they could include a paragraph about e-cigarettes and vaping in there
  • Where vaping is restricted, employers may want to put up signs or notices in the workplace which make it clear where it is allowed and where it is banned. These should include any rules that relate to the use of e-cigarettes at work
  • It should be made clear that vaping in a prohibited area at work will result in disciplinary action
  • Employees should be reminded that it is a criminal offence to smoke in a designated smoke free public area

Vaping in schools: examples of smoking and vaping policies for staff

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust has a no smoking policy. 

It explains in enforcing the statutory ban brought under the Health Act 2006, the Trust’s prohibition on smoking in enclosed public and workplaces is extended, in this policy, to using electronic cigarettes, otherwise known as ‘vaping’, within all school grounds and premises.

Employees will not be permitted to smoke/vape during working time, only in the employee’s own time away from the school premises.

We want to create a whole-school approach to tobacco and E-cigarettes in order to prevent the uptake of, and reduce the prevalence of, smoking across the whole school community. 

No member of staff employed by the Trust will be permitted to smoke whilst on-duty or representing the organisation.

Staff are only permitted to smoke whilst off-duty e.g. official breaks such as lunch breaks, however staff must leave the school premises in order to do so. Smoking/vaping breaks are not permitted during paid working time. 

Kirklees Council has a smoking and vaping policy for all school staff.

It explains that staff are not permitted to use e-cigarettes within any part of the school workplace, school grounds, school vehicles or any other establishments in the control of the school.

Staff who wish to use e-cigarettes may only do so if it is in their own time during their official breaks such as lunch breaks, official unpaid tea breaks or when either on the way to or from work. 

Vaping in schools: further information

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