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Poll: are employees entitled to a smoking break?

Nottinghamshire County Council say the move has been taken to improve the health of employees and reduce time off work. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

Nottinghamshire County Council has announced plans for a ban on employees taking smoking breaks during work time.

We ask do workers have a right to take a break for a cigarette?

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Nottinghamshire County Council: Plans to ban cigarette breaks part of 'duty of care'

Employees could be banned from taking smoking breaks Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Nottinghamshire County Council has insisted plans to ban smoking breaks are part of its desire to be a 'supportive employer' and that they have a 'duty of care' to the people that work for them.

Here is their full statement:

“Smoking is still public health’s number one enemy. Nottinghamshire County Council, along with a number of other partners, has signed the Nottinghamshire and Nottingham Tobacco Declaration that commits us to take action against tobacco which in turn improves the health of our staff."

“We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire."

“If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to. With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services. If they don’t want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."

"We want to support staff by encouraging them to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy at work. The cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy is cheaper than cigarettes so we are not asking staff to spend more money than usual."

“National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems."

“Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers.”

– Nottinghamshire County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health John Tomlinson
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Council considers employee smoking break ban

Smoking breaks will be banned for thousands of council employees under new proposals.

Nottinghamshire County Council is proposing a total smoking ban for staff

Nottinghamshire County Council has said its 9,000 employees will be barred from smoking during work time with the ban extending to e-cigarettes, in the mooted plans.

Anyone who fails to stick to the rules could face internal disciplinary action.

The local authority said the ban, to include all council buildings, land and vehicles, was aimed at boosting its workers' health, increasing time spent working and reducing levels of sick leave.

But the largest public sector union Unison has said the stringent rules will be unenforceable and has urged the council to support smokers in quitting rather than haul wayward employees into disciplinary meetings.

The council's deputy director of public health John Tomlinson said smoking was still "public health's number one enemy" and the local authority had committed itself to action.

"We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire.

"If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to.

"With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services.

"If they don't want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."

– John Tomlinson, Nottinghamshire's deputy director of public health

The council has said it will encourage staff to use alternatives like nicotine patches to kick their habit, arguing the cost to its staff would be cheaper than a packet of cigarettes.

"National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems.

"Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers."

– John Tomlinson Nottinghamshire's deputy director of public health

The council has about 9,000 employees across all its departments, excluding teachers.

Employees get a short morning and afternoon break, but no smoking will be allowed during these periods under any ban.

Smoking will be allowed during lunch breaks but not in uniform or anywhere near council property, according to the union, Unison.

"We're supportive of public health and we haven't got a stance on this, but we are balloting members asking whether they would be for or against.

"I don't see yet how they could enforce it. Say you work in highways, if you want to smoke, you need to take all your uniform off and go as far away from site as possible and have a cigarette and then come back.

"You're not going to be able to smoke in your uniform, or if you're standing outside your council workplace or are wearing a council badge or lanyard.

"If you're in the parks department, you won't be able to - even when you're outside.

"If anybody goes out on council business and drives their own car, they won't be able to smoke."

– Brian Fitzpatrick, Unison services conditions officer

Unions will discuss the proposals with the council in the autumn, with the ban expected to come into force early next year.

Stop smoking service opens in Leicestershire and Rutland

Quit 51 aims to encourage the counties' 96,000 smokers to quit Credit: PA Wire

A new service to help people stop smoking has been launched in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Quit 51 aims to encourage the counties' 96,000 smokers to quit, in order to improve their health.

Commissioned by Leicestershire County Council, the free service is easily accessible through the internet and public venues such as pharmacies, GP surgeries, dentists and hospitals.

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Plans to ban smoking in cars carrying children move a step closer

Yesterday we reported on plans by Labour to place a ban on smoking in cars carrying children.

The plans have now moved a step closer after a vote in the House of Lords.

Campaigners say the ban will protect 500,000 children who are exposed to smoke in cars every week.

Last night's vote means it could become law if MPs are given a free vote on the issue when it returns to the Commons.

Baroness Floella Benjamin said that second hand smoke is a 'major trigger' for people who suffer from asthma.

Read more on the story here.

YOUR VIEWS: Smoking in cars with children

Smoking in cars that are carrying children has already been banned in some overseas states Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

You have been giving us your views on our Facebook page on whether smoking in cars while carrying children should be banned.

Here is a selection of your comments:

Steven Allsop: "Smoking in cars should be banned full stop."

Stephanie Newton: "Unsure why a law should be needed. Anyone who cares about their children's health would not smoke around them wherever that is. Just be better parents and less selfish. Surely this shouldn't even be a debate."

Rachel Fairfield: "As a smoker, ban cigarettes totally! Temptation is too hard! If I had willpower I wouldn't smoke at all! Ban it!"

Diane Reed: "I agree no smoking in cars with children. But if I wish to smoke in my car on my own that's my choice."

Hayley Conway: "It should be banned altogether and save the country millions in healthcare!"

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PM 'ready to listen to the arguments' on smoking in cars

Downing Street said David Cameron was ready to "listen to the arguments" about a ban on smoking in cars that are carrying children.

Prime Minister David Cameron 'wants to listen to the arguments' on banning smoking in cars with children. Credit: Luke MacGregor/PA Wire

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a media briefing, "This is an issue that is going to be discussed and debated in Parliament today, and the Prime Minister's view is that he wants to listen to the arguments."

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