Is Vaping Acceptable for OTR Truck Drivers?


Vaping is a newish trend involving electronic cigarettes, nicotine and fewer toxic carcinogens from actually smoking. E-juice is made from flavorings and edible mists and are smokeless. Truckers who are tobacco smokers might be thinking of doing the vape thing. But can you as a trucker, and what are the safety considerations you need to worry about?

Truck Drivers Smoke

Truckers have been smoking and continue to smoke. The Centers for Disease Control compare the rate of adult smokers in the general public to long-haul truckers and found:

  • 19 percent of the general population is a cigarette smoker
  • 60 percent of long haul truck drivers smoke cigarettes

Why such a huge difference, of more than 40 percent? Smoking cigarettes helps them fight boredom. It kills their hunger cravings. It keeps them awake. It’s legal.

it also causes cancer and kills people. Therefore truck drivers are looking for alternatives, such as vaping. Vaping allows people to puff in a mist that contains nicotine. The actual vaping gadget looks like a cigarette, albeit much heavier, so you get the sensation of really smoking a cigarette. Only it’s supposed to be safer.

Vaping Safely

While vaping sounds like a good alternative to smoking actual cigarettes, there are concerns. Overdrive reported about the FMCSA taking note of exploding e-cigarettes. The FMCSA specifies that the “Explosions regularly involved the ejection of a burning battery case or other components from the device which subsequently ignited nearby flammable or combustible materials.”

The FMCSA add that some of the explosions happened while the vaporizer was charging, others when the person was holding the device. In light of the recent increase in the use of e-cigs, the FMCSA states drivers must “be cognizant of the risks associated with these devices and exercise good judgment and appropriate discretion in their possession, storage, charging or use on, around or while operating a truck and to adhere to the smoking prohibitions on, near or when loading and unloading a truck hauling hazardous materials.”

Hazardous to Your Use

In addition to being a fire danger, vaporizers may just be a problem for your hazardous materials loads. Any such loads may be in the line of fire, literally, with a vaping device on the driver. You wouldn’t want to do anything that might cause a spark when working around that cargo. Double-check with your trucking companies, hazmat load customers and perhaps DOT inspectors to find out if you can use your vaporizing unit when hauling loads.

Employer Owned and Operated

Your boss runs the show. As a company driver they also own your truck, unless your leased but that’s off topic. If they don’t want you to smoke in the truck, chances are they won’t want you to vape in it. You might not think they’ll find out, but don’t risk it. Ask for permission before vaping in a company truck. Also be prepared for them to say no, since vaping is still a new concept and not fully accepted everywhere. Some companies may not allow it due to truck driver insurance requirements. Just cover your tail and don’t risk losing any trucking jobs over vaping.

Truck Drivers and Smoking

Truck drivers smoke in their rigs when it is allowed either by the owner or themselves. So if that is allowed then vaping should be as well, according to that premise. However, the issue of exploding vaporizers is very concerning, especially considering how new this technology is on the market. Further testing needs to be done to ensure vaporizers are safe for use while driving.