New progressive proposals on smoking at work: ASH delighted

Wednesday 06 September 2000

ASH surprised but delighted with new progressive proposals on passive smoking at work

6 September 2000 – For immediate release


ASH responded with surprise and delight at the new measures to tackle passive smoking announced yesterday by the Health & Safety Commission. The decision to let the proposed Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) go through to ministers is a great victory for public health.


ASH’s Project Manager, Karl Brookes, said: “This is good news for the 3 million non-smoking staff who work in a smoky environment. It’s also good news for employers because they now have clear guidance on the actions they should take in order to protect their staff from the dangers of passive smoking at work.”


The commission surprised ASH by going further than the health lobby had hoped for and dealt with the concerns of the hospitality industry, by bringing the Public Places Charter into the ACoP for the first two years. This means that any pub or restaurant that signs up to the Public Places Charter will be complying with the ACoP. The situation will be supported by new guidance and reviewed after two years.  This should ensure that staff most in need of protection from passive smoking are protected,whilst giving consumers a wider choice of smoke free areas.


Karl Brookes added, “Increasingly publicans are finding that smoke free areas are good for business. We are pleased that the Public Places Charter is being promoted in a way that will benefit the consumer, staff and business.”


The decision came after a three month consultation last year. Over 85% of respondents backed the introduction of an ACoP. Commissioners concluded that the ACoP offered the most sensible way to tackle the workplace smoking. The ACoP will give authoritative guidance on employers’ obligations under health,safety, and welfare law regarding passive smoking at work.  This Code will have special legal force,similar to that of the Highway Code. Failing to follow the Code will not be an offence in itself, but an employer will need to demonstrate that equally effective methods have been adopted to signal compliance with the law.