Defending My Right To Breathe Clean Air At Work

This piece was featured on The BeerCast, below is just a snippet.

As part of my job as a bartender I pride myself on going above and beyond whatever the customer asks of me in the name of good service, all I ask for in return is good etiquette. This request is honoured almost every time, with the exception of a few forgotten Ps and Qs, allowing me to enjoy my job and my guests to enjoy their time in the bar. However, within the past year a new threat to this harmonious balance has appeared: a neon blue glue appears at the corner of a customer’s mouth, partnered seconds later by a white plume which is then followed by an acrid aroma, peculiar and unwelcome, that lingers in the air for minutes.

‘Vaping’ is the practice of using a battery-powered atomizer to vaporize a mixture of propylene glycol, nicotine, and a flavouring to simulate the smoking experience. Manufacturers SkyCig claim ‘the vapour released when exhaling an e-cigarette contains water, edible flavourings & emulsifiers (including propylene glycol), edible perfumes, and a small dosage of nicotine.’They continue ‘there has not yet been a significant amount of research completed in this area specifically relating to electronic cigarettes’. They are currently completely unregulated by any legislation meaning that legally they can be used anywhere.

In 2006 Scotland took a major step in improving the health of the public by banning smoking in public places. I was only 17 at the time and can say with absolute confidence that if it were not for this Act I would never have worked in a bar and would have been loathe to spend any time in them, either. The thought of breathing in unknown, unquantified, and unwelcome compounds horrified me. The death of much loved Entertainer Roy Castle being attributed to inhaling second hand smoke terrified me. To be asked to risk death or illness from other people’s wanton selfishness in the work place was unthinkable. Yet this is something that we are now beginning to be expected to do again.

 Click here for full story.

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