'STOP Vaping around the food!!!!!' signs on electrical panels and walls (l&r) hand holding vape (c)

SVETOV DMITRII/Shutterstock @irmagrahm/TikTok

‘So this is commonplace in the back of every restaurant’: Restaurant worker finds 11 signs pasted all over the kitchen asking them to stop vaping

'Every fast food place I've ever worked had someones pen being passed around.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Oct 16, 2023

In the past few years, the popularity of vaping has skyrocketed. In 2021, a study by the CDC found that 1 in 20 adults claimed to be current e-cigarette users. For young people, that number was significantly higher. Over 10% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 reported actively using e-cigarettes or vapes.

While cigarette smoke can stain and cause lingering smells, emissions from vapes largely do not have the same consequences, though someone vaping may exhale nicotine and propylene glycol into the air. 

Regardless, many businesses have chosen to regulate indoor vaping in the same way they regulate cigarette smoking. One such business was recently discovered by TikTok user Irma (@irmagrahm), who showed how aggressively one restaurant is trying to get their staff to stop vaping indoors.

@irmagrahm No blinkers in the kitchen 🤧🤧🤧#blinkercity ♬ original sound – Subezewo

In a video with over 552,000 views as of Monday morning, Irma shows the kitchen of a restaurant. Plastered across most surfaces are signs reading: “STOP VAPING AROUND THE FOOD!!!!!!”

Commenters speculated as to why management was so insistent on getting staff to stop vaping.

“Since it’s a minuscule amount, you’d have to be vaping a lot to taste it but it’s still a health code concern as somebody could be allergic & it could leave residue on surfaces as well,” explained a commenter.

Those with nicotine allergies can experience headaches, wheezing, stuffy nose, sneezing, and more when exposed to nicotine, per Healthline. That said, it is unclear whether exhaled nicotine in the kitchen would be substantial enough to transfer onto food, and thus to customers.

Despite signage like this, users in the comments section admitted that vaping in restaurant kitchens is incredibly common.

“So this is commonplace in the back of every restaurant,” wrote a user.

“The way my manager will walk through the kitchen w a cloud following her,” added another.

“My boss got so tired of us vaping in the walk in and bathroom that she just lets us go outside as often as we want,” recalled a third.

“Every fast food place I’ve ever worked had somones pen being passed around,” said an additional TikToker.

The Daily Dot reached out to Irma via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Oct 16, 2023, 8:52 am CDT