Smoke Freedom Toolkit Published: Also Key Figures on Workplace Exposure



Friday 03 September 2004

ASH news release:  Embargo 00.01hrs:  Friday 3rd September 2004

  • Two Million People Still Routinely Exposed to Tobacco Smoke at Work
  • ASH/CIEH Publish New Guide for Local Councils to End Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and ASH are calling on local authorities to take action to make all workplaces and enclosed public places in their local areas smoke free. This follows the release of a major new guidance document produced by both organisations entitled Achieving Smoke Freedom Toolkit.The new guide is designed to equip local authorities with all the information they need to allow them to push for all workplaces and enclosed public places in their areas to go smoke free. It shows that local Councils have many relevant powers and opportunities for action – but that the Government still needs to change the law on smoking in the workplace to ensure that Council action can be fully effective.

With the guide, CIEH and ASH are also publishing new analysis showing that more than two million people in Great Britain still work in workplaces where smoking is allowed throughout. Another ten million people work in places where smoking is allowed somewhere on the premises. CIEH and ASH describe the new figures as “shocking evidence confirming that smoking is now the number one health and safety hazard in British workplaces”.

The figures were calculated using the Government’s Labour Force Survey for 2003 and the National Statistics Omnibus Survey, smoking-related behaviour and attitudes module, carried out in October and November 2003. The results have been verified by the Office for National Statistics.

  • 2,182,000 people work in places with “no restrictions on smoking at all”. This is 8% of those in work in Great Britain
  • 10,366,000 people work in places where smoking takes place in “designated areas”. This is 38% of those in work. [1]

Earlier this year shocking statistics showed that inhaling second-hand smoke at work may cause about 700 hundred premature deaths a year, three times the number of people killed in all industrial accidents in the UK [2].

Graham Jukes, CIEH Chief Executive, said:

“All the statistics and evidence supports the need to bring an end to smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places. Smoking kills not only smokers but also hundreds of people who are forced to breathe second-hand tobacco pollution simply because of where they work. This is one of the United Kingdom‘s most significant public health issues and the Government must show leadership by introducing a national prohibition on workplace smoking. In the meantime, with the publication of this toolkit, we are trying to assist local authorities to take action locally. 

The toolkit will help them appreciate what powers and duties exist currently to tackle this health issue and also it also provides examples of material from local authorities that have already taken some steps towards achieving smoke freedom.” 

Deborah Arnott, ASH Director, said:

“Smoking is the single biggest health and safety hazard in UK workplaces. It is time for central Government to commit itself to a leadership role by introducing a total workplace ban. 

But even in the absence of central Government action, there is a lot that local Councils can and should be doing to move towards smoke free workplaces and public places. This toolkit shows the way.  ASH will be working with the CIEH and local Councils across the UK to introduce more and more no smoking policies in workplaces and enclosed public places.”

– ENDS –

NOTES

[1]        Full results can be seen here (pdf).

[2]        Estimate by Professor Konrad Jamrozik of Imperial College London for a conference of the Royal College of Physicians in May 2004. This can be compared with a total of 226 deaths from all industrial accidents in 2002/3. (See www.hse.gov.uk/press/2003/c03065.htm).

[3]        The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is the professional voice for environmental health. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people’s health can be improved. The CIEH represents nearly 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors.