Use the ban to help staff quit urges TUC

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TUC
date: 29 June 2007

embargo: None

Use the ban to help staff quit urges TUC

With the smoking ban in English workplaces only days away, the Northern TUC is urging employers not to make life difficult for smokers by banning them from cigarette breaks, but to use the change in the law as an opportunity to help their staff get healthier and quit the habit.

From this Sunday, 1 July, all enclosed workplaces have to be smoke-free, and the Northern TUC is concerned that in the rush to make sure that all the no smoking signs are up and smoking rooms shut down, employers may have forgotten about the best interests of their staff.

Northern TUC Regional Secretary Kevin Rowan said : 'Many smokers say they intend to use the introduction of the ban as the reason they've all been waiting for to give up. So this weekend looks like the perfect opportunity for employers to encourage staff to stop. Many will, however, find it harder to do so.

"Employers would benefit from a constructive approach to the new regulations and should seek to help workers break the habit. Employers can work with local smoking cessation services in the health service and should consider running in-house stop smoking sessions, offering staff who smoke patches, gum or hypnosis to encourage them to quit. The small cost of providing this would be more than offset by the individual health and business benefits of reducing the number of smokers within the workforce.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- Smoking prevalence is higher in the north east than in any other region of the UK

- Each year 32 people in the North East die from exposure to second hand smoke at work

- The TUC are partners in the Fresh campaign for a smoke-free North East

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