Industry unsure of new smoke free regulations

Published:  18 December, 2007

One in five (22%) manufacturing businesses do not realise their smoking room will have to be closed by 1st July 2007 and nearly half (45%) do not realise that work vehicles will also be covered. With only a couple of months to go before England goes smoke free all businesses need to get ready for the introduction of the legislation.

New research from the Department of Health shows that although nearly two thirds (68%) of manufacturing businesses are aware of the forthcoming legislation, many are unsure of the detail.

The Government has already launched a major campaign to prepare businesses for the 1st July, including advertising and a mail-out of guidance to more than a million businesses. A dedicated website has also been set up to help businesses and the public to prepare.

When asked as part of a website poll what people would like to see their smoking room changed into, three out of five people said they would like the room to be used for leisure purposes or a chill out room, while one in five said that they would opt for an extra meeting room.
More than one in ten (16%) manufacturing businesses realise that they are not yet fully compliant and that they will have to take action before the 1st July. Although half of businesses are currently no smoking workplaces, even if they are already smoke free businesses will have to take to action by putting up no-smoking signs to meet the requirements of the new law.

Caroline Flint, Public Health Minister said: "The countdown is now well underway until England goes smoke free.  All businesses need to ensure that they know exactly what they need to do before the 1st July.  Closing smoking rooms and making sure that everyone displays the correct signage will play a key part in the smooth introduction of this legislation. Guidance is now available to download and is currently being mailed directly to businesses.  We are confident that by working together everyone should be ready in time.”

Ben Wilmott of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development said:  “Businesses need to think carefully about what they need to achieve between now and the 1st July when they go smoke free. If a business has a smoking room this is a good opportunity to work with staff to ask them what they would like to see the room used for in the future.  Having a space which all staff can relax in and enjoy can have a very positive impact on a business, staff morale and productivity.”

The legislation will mean that virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces will need to be smoke free, including work vehicles which are used by more than one person.

Managers will have legal responsibilities to prevent anyone smoking in smoke free premises and vehicles, and will need to ensure that no-smoking signs are displayed at each entrance to their premises and inside work vehicles. 

Through the Smokefree England campaign, the Department of Health has produced a range of guidance and signage to support businesses to prepare for the new law.  This is now being mailed to over 1.7m businesses across the country and is available to download from www.smokefreeengland.co.uk

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