In the workplace

The workplace presents an opportunity to encourage and facilitate action on smoking. The London Healthy Workplace Charter provides a framework for action to help employers build good practice in health and work in their organisation. The business benefits of having a healthy, fit and committed workforce are now clearly recognised. These include lower absence rates, fewer accidents, improved productivity, staff who are engaged and committed to the organisation and fitter employees as they grow older. The Charter works by recognising good practice at three tiers: ‘commitment’, ‘achievement’ and ‘excellence’. The standards for smoking are outlined in Table 1.

Table 1: Healthy London Workplace Charter – tobacco standards
Level of Achievement Requirements
Commitment level The organisation’s management team is aware of its duties under smoke-free legislation and is in compliance.
All staff are aware of the smoke-free and tobacco control laws and how they are applied in their workplace.
Sources of further information and support to quit smoking are regularly available.
A smoke-free policy is in place and all staff are aware of it and kept informed of any changes.
Achievement level Building managers, reception staff, ground staff and those operating in communal areas are aware of how to report breaches of the smoke-free policy.
Excellence level All open areas (outdoor) are clearly signposted as smoke-free and steps are taken to prevent smoking in these areas.
There is active promotion of ‘stop-smoking’ services and staff are given time to attend.

Source: Greater London Authority 6

There is specific NICE guidance on how to encourage and support employees to stop smoking. Recommendations are outlined below. 7

  • Employers should develop a smoking cessation policy, provide employees with information on local SSS, publicise local interventions and allow staff time off to attend smoking cessation services.
  • Employees and their representatives should encourage employers to provide advice, guidance and support to help employees who want to stop smoking.

Wider tobacco control

The most effective tobacco control strategies involve taking a multi-faceted and comprehensive approach at both national and local level. 8 The Department of Health’s 2011 report ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England’ sets out required actions across the following eight areas: 9

  • limiting the availability of tobacco
  • restricting tobacco promotion
  • preventing smoking uptake, particularly by young people
  • eradicating sales of counterfeit and illegal products
  • enforcing underage sales legislation
  • educating the public about the dangers of tobacco use
  • motivating and helping smokers to quit
  • reducing exposure to second hand smoke and potential dangers from fire.

A new national tobacco control plan is expected to be published very soon. In 2015, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) published a report, ‘Smoking Still Kills’, which set out a number of recommendations for consideration to inform the new plan.

This report sets out a number of short-term objectives and longer-term aims and develops the agenda for tobacco control launched in 2008 with the ‘Beyond Smoking Kills’ report.

The main recommendations include:10

  • new targets for a renewed national strategy to accelerate the decline in smoking prevalence over the next decade
  • an annual levy on tobacco companies to be introduced and for the money raised to be used to pay for measures such as mass media campaigns and stop smoking services
  • good quality, evidence-based SSS to be accessible to all smokers, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups and disadvantaged populations
  • the tax escalator on tobacco products to be increased to 5% above the level of inflation
  • mass media campaigns and social marketing campaigns to target lower socio-economic groups and disadvantaged populations, and adequate resources to be provided to ensure that their reach, duration and frequency are in line with best practice
  • the number of homes occupied by adult smokers and dependent children that are smoke-free to be increased to 80% by 2020 and 90% by 2025 short anti-smoking films to be shown before films and programmes that portray smoking and can be seen by children and young people, including those viewed in cinemas, on TV and on pay to view internet.

References

  1. Greater London Authority, “London Healthy Workplace Charter,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/self-assessment_framework.pdf.
  2. NICE, “Smoking: Workplace interventions,” April 2007. [Online]. Available: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph5.
  3. U. S. General, “Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General.,” US Department of Health and Human services, Washington, 2000.
  4. Department of Health, “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England,” 2011. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213757/dh_124960.pdf. [Accessed 2 November 2016].
  5. ASH, “Smoking Still Kills: Protecting children, reducing inequalities,” 2015.
  6. Greater London Authority, “London Healthy Workplace Charter,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/self-assessment_framework.pdf.
  7. NICE, “Smoking: Workplace interventions,” April 2007. [Online]. Available: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph5.
  8. U. S. General, “Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General.,” US Department of Health and Human services, Washington, 2000.
  9. Department of Health, “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England,” 2011. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213757/dh_124960.pdf. [Accessed 2 November 2016].
  10. ASH, “Smoking Still Kills: Protecting children, reducing inequalities,” 2015.