Workplaces in the UK will be smoke-free by July, health secretary Patricia Hewitt has announced.
Businesses have eight months to prepare for the ban, which puts an end to ‘smoking rooms’ in the workplace.
Announcing the deadline, Hewitt said: “Where countries have gone smoke-free, the impact on the health of staff has been immediate and positive. And the experience of going smoke-free in Ireland, Scotland, New York and elsewhere has been good for business.”
“It has been an incredible journey, but we still have a lot of work to do to support businesses to be ready for the implementation of the new laws,” Hewitt added.
The first indications of this support came with the launch of the Smokefree England campaign, which will use the internet and direct marketing to advise businesses on how to prepare for the ban, according to the Department of Health (DoH).
“We will also use PR and media advertising to reach businesses, backed up by an information line, leaflets, brochures, posters and other materials,” John Tilley, senior policy manager at the DoH said.
Employers will have to ensure that they display clearly visible ‘no smoking’ signs at the entrance to premises, and smokers will be unable to convene in office entrances during their cigarette breaks, as these areas are deemed to be partially enclosed.
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, commented: “The UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants will become healthier places to work overnight, and in the longer term fewer workers will fall ill or die as a result of second-hand smoke.
“But employers shouldn't leave it until the last minute before thinking about how to introduce the smoking ban in their factories or offices.”
© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006