Smoking - Your Questions

Last reviewed on 20/11/2012 14:27

Question: What is meant by 'no-smoking premises'?

A: The legislation outlines what premises must be designated as no-smoking premises. The law applies to premises that are wholly or substantially enclosed and includes work vehicles and public transport. No-smoking premises will fall into one of the following four broad categories of premises, namely those:

  • to which the public or a section of the public has access
  • which are being used wholly or mainly as a place of work by persons who are employees
  • which are being used by and for the purposes of a club or other unincorporated association
  • which are being used wholly or mainly for the provision of education, health or care services.

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Question: As part of my job I often visit the homes of smokers. What should my employer be doing to protect my health?

A: The new legislation does not apply in people's homes and some other premises that are considered the equivalent of someone’s home, e.g. a care home or designated hotel room. But it can affect those who work in people’s homes, including care workers, home helps, health visitors, plumbers, joiners and carpet fitters, etc.

This is a very difficult one to manage, as your employer might need to rely on goodwill and a sensible response from the householder.

A risk assessment should be carried out to determine whether there are suitable controls that would help reduce the risks and eliminate/reduce/limit your exposure to tobacco smoke.

This could include contacting clients to ask if they could restrict smoking to times outside your visits, refrain from smoking for a period of time prior to your visit, open windows and ventilate rooms, the client could be asked to restrict smoking to specific rooms or restrict where you work to specific rooms where people do not smoke.

Consultation with staff, clients, landlords and anyone else involved should be part of the assessment. Controls may be different for different clients and their needs. Information might be required in relation to the premises, the staff group, the clients and their care needs, which would help to determine how to proceed. It is important that everyone is allowed to contribute to the assessment process and that the findings are discussed and communicated to everyone.

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