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NICE talks to employers on smoking 

NICE has introduced guidance on reducing smoking at work which while offically targeted at health professionals like all its guidance is really talking to employers.

Reducing smoking and tobacco-related harm is a key government strategy for improving the health of people in England and reducing health inequalities. After 1 July 2007, smoking will be prohibited in virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England. Failure to comply will be an offence.

The guidance says: 'Employers are not legally obliged to help employees to stop smoking. However, employers that do provide cessation support could reduce the risk of non-compliance with the law, as well as taking advantage of the opportunity it offers to improve people's health. They will also benefit from reduced sickness absence and increased productivity.' It is estimated that on average non-smokers take 8 fewer sick days than smokers.

This guidance is for NHS and non-NHS professionals and employers who have a role in - or responsibility for - supporting and encouraging employees who smoke to quit. This includes those working in local authorities and the community, voluntary and private sectors.

The guidance, which is available here, recommends the most effective and cost effective approaches. These range from providing information on local stop smoking services and allowing people who smoke to attend these services during working hours without loss of pay, to the provision of such services in the workplace itself.

Page created on April 25th, 2007

Page updated on December 1st, 2009