Nightclub operator Luminar Leisure is to offer its 8,000-strong workforce the chance to quit smoking by working with a company that helps people kick the habit.
The firm has signed a deal with smoking cessation specialist Easyway Scotland, initially for sessions with its management team north of the border, ahead of the Scotland-wide ban on smoking in public places that comes into force next month.
It plans to roll out the initiative to the entire workforce in the coming months, ahead of the smoking ban in England, which will cover every employer from next summer after the historic vote by MPs last week.
Billy Wiseman, Luminar’s head of training and development, said the company recognised that staff working in smoky nightclubs found it difficult to quit.
“In our industry, we are surrounded by people smoking. For managers and staff it is considered to be a part of every day and night activity,” he said. “We are all ready for the challenge and plan to support each other.”
Luminar, owner of brands such as the Chicago Rock Cafe and Jumpin Jaks bars, estimates it will save about £2,000 a year per employee through regaining time previously lost to smoking breaks and a reduction in sickness absence.
The initiative also reduces the risk of organisations being caught out by the regulations, under which environmental health officers have the power to fine English employers £2,500 and those in Scotland £200 if staff ignore the regulations.
Easyway Scotland said the average employee saved about £1,500 a year by giving up smoking, as well as benefiting from better health.
This week, 20 of the firm’s managers in Scotland will take part in the first sessions in Edinburgh.
Reaction to last week’s decision to ban smoking in all English workplaces by summer 2007
- “We are pleased that MPs have ensured a level playing field for all, with no exemption for private members’ clubs. Their thousands of employees are subject to the same health and safety at work regulations as pub industry staff. Now the real hard work begins, preparing our customers and pubs for this cultural shift.”
Director of communications at employers’ group the British Beer and Pub Association
- “MPs should be congra-tulated for making the right decision despite pressure to look for a compromise. Second-hand smoke is the hidden industrial killer of the 21st century and this will tackle it head on. We must ensure legislation comes into force quickly and that compliance levels are high from the start.”
TUC regional secretary
- “We’re delighted that the smoke-free law will give all workers, including those in pubs and private members’ clubs, equal protection from the life-threatening effects of second-hand smoke.”
Chief executive, Cancer Research
- “Unfortunately, MPs have been seduced by an unprecedented campaign of propaganda about the effects of passive smoking, for which evidence is inconclusive.”
Pro-smoking campaign group