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A guide to the smoking ban

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Consultant Sandra Beale explains what the smoking ban in public places in England from July 1 will mean for business.



From 1 July 2007 in England all smoking in enclosed public places will be banned. It is already banned in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (from 30 April 2007).

The ban covers pubs, bars, private members clubs, restaurants, nightclubs, factories and offices. It will also be illegal to smoke in work vehicles where there is more than one person. Smoking in private homes, prisons, hotels and care homes, however, will still be allowed.

Employers will no longer be allowed to provide indoor smoking rooms, but may need consider the construction of a smoking shelter which should be non-enclosed if space allows although this is not a legal requirement.

Smoking outside will still be allowed, but employers need to consider the impact of having a smoker or group of smokers standing around outside their premises in possible full public view as well as the conflict that can arise from non-smokers being disgruntled at the number smoking breaks their smoking colleagues may be taking that can have an impact on productivity.

Signs should be erected clearly and prominently showing the no smoking symbol which is applicable for staff as well customers and clients. Failure to do so can incur a fine of up to £1,000.

If the ban is ignored and cigarette smokers are allowed to light up indoors a fine of up to £2,500 can be imposed on the employer or business.

There should be a policy on smoking included in the employee handbook which sets out the rights of smokers and non-smokers as well as contractual clauses. The status on smoking breaks should be clarified as well as arrangements for visitors.

An awareness of the health consequences of continuing to smoke should be raised with advice on assistance with giving up provided. This can be in the form of leaflets or presentations from qualified medical personnel.

The cost benefits to all concerned should be recognised. For businesses there are reduced insurance costs due to less fire hazard, cleaning and re-decorating. For those individuals who give up smoking they save thousands of pounds per year as well as get their health back.

For further advice on this matter speak to Sandra Beale of SJ Beale HR Consult Ltd on 07762 771290 or email [email protected]

5 Responses

  1. Non Smoking
    Again like every piece of legislation this Government writes it is total rubbish. The definition of what is covered says:

    Premises will be considered ‘enclosed’ if they have a ceiling or roof and (except for doors, windows or passageways) are wholly enclosed either on a permanent or temporary basis.

    Premises will be considered ‘substantially enclosed’ if they have a ceiling or roof, but have an opening in the walls, which is less than half the total area of the walls. The area of the opening does not include doors, windows or any other fittings that can be opened or shut.

    By this statement if a building such as a train station/terminus is covered which Network Rail believe it is, unless a smoking shelter has sides of less that the total areas of the walls it is covered by the regulations as a no smoking area.

    Many organisations are taking an approach of covering all company vechciles regaurdless of there being only one person in the car and are banning smoking within 30 foot of the building or any of their premises including car parks etc.

    I was reading something yesterday that some companies have gone so far as to introduc a fines system for any employee breaking the no smoking rules and a number of companies had introduced a policy of recruiting non smokers only

    Personally as an asthma sufferer for the past 10 years I look forward to getting off the train at Euston and not have to fight my way thorough a cloud of smoke whilst the selfish few get a quick fag in before they hit the underground.

  2. An actor’s life for me
    My favourite part of the new anti-smoking legislation is the exemption for actors. If it is deemed necessary to smoke for the “artistic integrity” of the part, then the actor may smoke, but only for the performance and not during rehearsals!

  3. Smoking in work vehicles
    Specifically, the law says that work vehicles used by more than one person must be smokefree at ALL times, not only while there is more than one occupant.

    So drivers may only smoke if they never carry passengers at work or lend their car to colleagues. Passengers, logically, can never smoke in a work vehicle (unless it’s a convertible with the roof fully down… this one will run and run).

    Evidence from other parts of the UK suggests that vehicles will not be a great priority for enforcement to begin with. In any case, the enforcement agents, unlike the police, have no power to stop moving vehicles.

    They might come round and check your company cars for no-smoking stickers or tell-tale odours but any future focus on enforcing the ban in vehicles may start and end with employees seen smoking in vans with company names written on their sides, as these are easily identifiable and traceable as multi-user working vehicles.

    Scotland, sensibly you might think, sidestepped this issue by exempting all cars, company and private, from its national smoking ban.

  4. The intrusion of the nanny state
    Our offices have always been non-smoking. To my knowledge no one has ever smoked inside the building. Everyone knows, this. Our handbook states this. No one, visitors included, has ever complained, moaned, or stamped their little feet.

    The government now tells us that we have to deface our entrance with no-smoking signs or risk a £1,000 fine. How ludicrous.

    As for raising “An awareness of the health consequences of continuing to smoke .. ” Who are we to tell consenting adults that they should stop smoking. They are grown ups. They can make their own minds up.

    Just wait, we’ll soon be asked (or should that be ‘told’?) to check how many bottles of wine our employees buy.

    PS. I’m a non smoker, but I’m seriously thinking of taking it up.

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