Earlier this month the Government finally revealed the date when the smoking ban in England is due to begin.

The smoking ban which will cover all public areas except private homes and outdoor areas will start on 1st July 2007.

England will be the last country in the United Kingdom to implement a smoking ban as bans are already in force in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, and smoking bans are due to begin in Wales and Northern Ireland on 2nd April 2007.

Health Benefits of Smoking Ban

The Government strongly believes that the smoking ban will protect everyone from second-hand smoke and will make it easier for smokers to quit. They have estimated that approximately 600,000 people will stop smoking as a result of the smoking ban.

We are probably all aware of the most publicised dangers of smoking and of being exposed to second-hand smoke such as lung cancer; however, there are many more health benefits of being in a smoke free environment. Second-hand smoke has been known to cause or contribute towards heart disease, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), strokes as well as bladder cancer, kidney cancer and cervical cancer to name but a few.

Employers urged to act before the smoking ban starts

The TUC have urged employers to take action to prepare for the smoking ban now rather than waiting for it to start in the summer. They have suggested that employers should consult staff and draw up a smoking policy which will protect the rights of smokers and non-smokers alike.

The TUC would like to see the smoking policies setting out clear guidelines for employees who need to leave the premises to smoke and specify what action will be taken against any employee breaching the ban.

According to the new law, smoking will still be allowed in any place deemed to be a “home”; therefore some workers such as care assistants and prison officers may still be at risk from second-hand smoke (or passive smoking as it is sometimes known).

The road to the smoking ban

At Thompsons Solicitors we have closely followed the developments of the smoking ban and welcomed the Government’s decision to implement the full smoking ban rather than the partial ban which was originally suggested.