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NICE guidance for quitting cig breaks


Employers should create an environment that enables smokers to quit – even if it means giving them time off work without loss of pay to attend stop-smoking clinics.

That’s the advice contained in new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as workplaces in England prepare to go smoke-free from July 1.

NICE says smoking costs industry an estimated £5 billion a year in lost productivity, absenteeism and fire damage. It’s hoped the new laws will motivate smokers who want to quit to finally give up.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: “Our advice is based on the best evidence of which workplace approaches are effective for smokers and make business sense for employers.

“Both the health and financial benefits to employees and businesses of providing stop smoking support in the workplace are clear, and this guidance can help organisations to become smoke free successfully.”

Environmental health specialist and member of NICE’s Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee Dale Robinson added: “The guidance advises what support employers should provide to help employees who smoke to quit – fewer smokers could reduce the chance of employers finding themselves in breach of the legislation.”

But David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce criticised the idea as being out of touch with reality.

“The idea that businesses should pick up the tab for an individual’s tobacco addiction just shows how far removed from the economic reality of the workplace NICE is,” he said.

“If people have a problem with tobacco dependence it is up to them to sort that out, but not during working hours.”

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