TUC calls for employers to show restraint when considering total ban on smoking breaks

With the smoking ban in English workplaces only days away, the TUC is urging employers not to make life difficult for smokers by banning them from cigarette breaks.

Instead, the union group said employers should use the change in the law as an opportunity to help staff get healthier and quit the habit.

From 1 July, all enclosed workplaces have to be smoke-free. The TUC is concerned that in the rush to make sure smoking rooms shut down, employers have forgotten about the best interests of their staff.

General secretary Brendan Barber said bosses who cracked down on fag breaks ran the risk that staff would be tempted to light up in secret on company premises.

“A far better approach would be to help workers break the habit. Employers should run in-house stop-smoking sessions, and offer staff patches, gum or hypnosis to encourage them to quit,” he said.

Research by recruitment firm Manpower found that half the UK employers said the ban had made them more aware of the importance of the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

But the study of more than 1,800 employers revealed that only 20% were providing advice on how to quit smoking.

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