Employers plan to get rid of cigarette breaks following ban on smoking in English workplaces on 1 July

Employers are planning to use the 1 July ban on smoking in the workplace in England to crack down on cigarette breaks, according to research by information provider Consult GEE.

The survey of 257 companies revealed that 36% planned to ban smoking breaks altogether.

Stuart Chamberlain, employment law expert at Consult GEE, said: “Although there has never been a contractual right to smoke at work, companies seem keen to eradicate smoking among staff and the ban is giving them the impetus to do just that.”

The survey also revealed that 70% of employers planned to stop staff smoking at the front of their premises. “Staff will be less likely to take a smoking break if they have to walk for 10 minutes to get away from the workplace,” Chamberlain said.

The survey also revealed:

  • 76% of employers have vowed to fine or take other disciplinary measures against staff who breach the smoking ban

  • 84% did not think the maximum fine of £2,500 or the threat of criminal charges for not complying with the ban was too strict

  • 47% have arranged for outside smoking facilities for staff

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