On the 1 July 2007, after years of research confirmed the harmful effects of smoking and secondhand smoke, the Smoke Free law was introduced. The law banned smoking in public places and in the workplace with a view to protecting the health of individuals.
No Smoking Sign of the Times
Well, how times have changed, and for the better. It is no longer forced upon us to sit for hours in a smoke-filled office whilst colleagues in close quarters challenge themselves to see just how far they can fill their daily ashtray. Yes, this actually used to happen.
Moving on from that there was the introduction of designated smoking areas or rooms. If you were never a smoker you could walk into this space to give smoking a try without even the need to light up or own a packet of cigarettes. The smokers that visited these facilities regularly must have surely cut down their number of daily cigarettes with the opportunity presented to passively smoke so many others.
Beware the Penalties
Now, of course, it is against the law to smoke in the workplace or for there to be any internal designated smoking areas. Smokers now have no choice but to smoke outside and brave all weather conditions. It is worth it though, as both smokers and business owners run the risk of penalties if they don’t uphold the Smoke Free law.
Despite us all being aware of the smoking laws, businesses are still required to display no smoking signs, not only on the business premises but also in company vehicles. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to £2500. Failing to stop employees from smoking in any of these areas could also put you in danger of fines of up to £1000.
If you are a smoker and blatantly ignore the no smoking signs, it could be a costly habit indeed with the possibility of encountering a fine of £200. Do you really want to light up?
A Change in the Trend
As if that isn’t all complicated enough there are now e-cigarettes, also known as smokeless cigarettes, to throw into the mix. The Smoke Free law does not apply to e-cigarettes and it is down to the discretion of the employer if the smoking of e-cigarettes is permitted in the workplace. To ensure things are perfectly clear the no smoking notice to employees should include an “e-cigarettes permitted” or “no smoking including e-cigarettes” safety message. However, this is not a legal requirement just good advice.
More Changes Ahead
Things have certainly changed a lot since 2007, and it is not going to stop there. This year we are to see the introduction of a ban on smoking in cars that are carrying children. The ban is expected to come into force in October 2015 and will apply to anyone carrying children in their vehicle, not just parents. It seems it is time to get those no smoking signs in our cars too.
How have the changes in the smoking laws over the years affected your business/workplace? Let us know in the comments.