Letter to the Publican on protection of workers from passive smoking

Sunday 29 August 1999
ASH/ Press releases/

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The Editor
Letters page
The Publican

By fax: 0181 565 4465

Action on Smoking
and Health

26th August 1999

Dear Editor

Re: smoking in pubs

The HSE’s proposals for an Approved Code of Practice on passive smoking at work shouldnot be a cause for alarm or pessimism (Pubs play with fire over smoking, 23 August). Theproposals require only that all workplaces, including pubs, do what is reasonable andpractical to reduce the exposure of staff to smoke. This means that “do nothing”is not an option but also that employers are not expected to do anything unreasonable orimpractical. That must surely include any measure that would lead to the closure of a pubor serious financial pain. The ACOP is not a back door ban on smoking in pubs, and ASHwould not want it interpreted that way. To restrict smoking at the bar within a pub ispractical in many cases, and this has already been done in many successful pubs. It ishowever, only one of the approaches that can be taken and it may not reasonable andpractical in all circumstances.

Passive smoking is not a trivial risk. It is known to be a cause of lung cancer, heartdisease, stroke and respiratory conditions such as asthma attacks, bronchitis, cough,wheezing and phlegm congestion. We are surprised that The Publican has taken such astrident stance against measures aimed at protectingthe welfare of pub workers byimproving their working environment as far as it is reasonable and practical to do it. Inour view, that is in line with common law obligations and good business practice.

Yours sincerely,


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