Smoking at work

Last reviewed on 26/06/2014 09:29

Smoking remains the major preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Scotland. Evidence shows that smokers have higher levels of sickness absence from work, and that exposure to second-hand smoke has a causal effect on the development of lung cancer and heart disease.

Public places and workplaces are now smoke-free with the exception of a few limited exemptions. Vehicles used for business purposes are also included in the ban. Businesses who fail to comply with the smoking legislation could be liable to a fixed penalty notice.

The health benefits of smoke-free environments are emerging; for example there has been a 17% reduction in acute coronary admissions to Scottish hospitals following the legislation.

What you should do

  • Download and complete the relevant 'no smoking' signage (external link) giving details of the person on the premises who can deal with a complaint or rectify a situation
  • Display the 'no smoking' signage near the entrance to your workplace

If you decide to allow a smoking shelter, ensure it complies with the guidance (external link).

Get started

  • Develop a smoking policy ensuring that staff are consulted in the process. You can use the smoke-free policy template [PDF] provided.
  • Provide a noticeboard or space where information on the health risks associated with smoking and support available for smoking cessation can be displayed. Make sure that staff know about it and that it is regularly refreshed.
  • Encourage staff who smoke to take advantage of free local smoking cessation support services and initiatives such as quit and win competitions.
  • Recognise and celebrate the successes of staff who give up smoking - encourage them to provide peer support to other smokers who want to quit. 

Further information

Further advice and assistance around workplace smoking policies is available via our website as well as in-person via our adviceline: 0800 019 2211.

Clearing the air Scotland (external link) was set up to advise businesses on the change. The information it contains is still current.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced guidance on smoking at work (external link). 

You can also call our Adviceline for free confidential advice, to request a workplace visit, or to register for our Award programme which recognises and accredits good practice.