The acceptance of smoking restrictions by an increasing number of businesses reflects a change in the climate of public opinion against smoking. Employees are less and less willing to work in smoky conditions and be exposed to the risk of ‘passive’ smoking.
There are two phases of tobacco smoke:-
Eighty five percent of smoke from a cigarette is sidestream smoke.
Tobacco smoke contains a large number of toxic chemicals and substances including nicotine, ammonia, tar, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. Some of these substances can cause acute irritation - people with respiratory problems and allergies can experience a worsening in their condition as a result of passive smoking. Passive smoking can also cause lung cancer in non-smokers and it has been estimated that passive smoking may be causing several hundred lung cancer deaths a year in the U.K.
With careful consultation and presentation, a smoking policy is a declaration of an enterprise’s commitment to the best interests of all its employees. The negative reactions, which are often expected from smokers, often do not materialise. Indeed, many smokers welcome clear rules that may reduce their consumption of tobacco.
BENEFITS AND COSTS
Potential benefits of a smoking policy include:-
Potential costs of developing and implementing a policy include:-
Relevant law which may support the introduction of a non-smoking policy includes:-
INTRODUCING A SMOKING POLICY
Action on smoking should be approached in an informed and systematic way. Suggested steps include:-
1. Set up a representative working party to
2. Survey staff, using a suitable questionnaire (model questionnaires are contained in some of the published guidance)
3. Establish general principles behind the policy.
4. Agree options on practicalities covering
6. Submit (revised) policy and supporting information to appropriate internal decision- making body for endorsement/approval.
7. Distribute policy to every employee
8. Implement the policy. This may involve such considerations as follows:
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The publications listed in the References/Further Details section of this element contain extensive advice and guidance on the practicalities and experiences of introducing smoking policies.
CHECKLIST - SMOKING POLICIES
Have you considered the benefits of introducing a smoking policy?
- on health grounds
- on safety grounds
- in view of the increasing potential for criminal or civil litigation?
- on moral/public opinion grounds?
If so, have you thought about the best way ofapproaching the task, of establishing a suitable policy and of implementing it in your premises?
Do you know where to go for information, advice, support or resources on the development of smoking policies in the workplace?
Do you protect non-smokers from discomfort causedby tobacco smoke in restrooms or rest areas?
See also pages: Carcinogens, Workplace Health Safety and Welfare, Ventilation