The Philadelphia City Council recently approved a bill that adds electronic cigarettes (or "e-cigarettes") to Philadelphia's existing smoking ban. The bill prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed areas within public places, outdoors within twenty feet of entrances to enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited, and at sidewalk cafés or outdoor service areas that are part of food or beverage establishments. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have already adopted similar restrictions on e-cigarette use.
If signed into law by Mayor Nutter, the e-cigarette ban would go into effect on July 1, 2014, and would have significant implications for all employers in Philadelphia. The bill not only prohibits e-cigarette use at workplaces, but also mandates that employers adopt written policies prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes within the workplace. The bill also requires employers to communicate the written policy to employees within thirty days after its adoption, provide a copy of the policy upon request to any employee or prospective employee, post signs prohibiting e-cigarette use, and take reasonable measures to ensure that no person uses e-cigarettes on the employer's premises.