No ifs or butts
Every day, research shows, two people in the UK die as a result of passive smoking at work. A new Bill making its way through Parliament could see cigarettes stubbed out in all public places and workplaces by 2007. The legislation has already been introdu
Every day, research shows, two people in the UK die as a result of passive smoking at work. A new Bill making its way through Parliament could see cigarettes stubbed out in all public places and workplaces by 2007. The legislation has already been introduced in Scotland, banning smoking in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Now, in East Cambridgeshire, many business people are taking the initiative to make their places smoke-free ahead of the Government deadline. LESLEY INNES looks at the work being done to protect non-smokers from the dangers of other people's cigarettes.
ACROSS the country, businesses are being congratulated for their commitment to clean air.
They are stubbing out the cigarettes and telling their workers and visitors their premises are smoke-free.
East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Primary Care Trust (PCT) banned smoking last November and has just received its Gold National Clean Air Award.
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Other companies are following suit as they prepare for a nationwide ban on smoking in public places set to come into force next year.
PCT director of public health Dr Liz Robin said: "As a health organisation we are very pleased that we have been able to protect our staff, patients and visitors from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. The National Clean Air Award gives public recognition for this."
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Second-hand smoke is tobacco smoke from other people's cigars and cigarettes.
In the workplace it leads to about 700 premature deaths a year - three times the number of people who die in industrial injuries and accidents.
In Ely, the Atrium Club adopted a smoke-free policy when it opened 15 years ago. Pizza Express and riverside restaurant The Boathouse have followed and East Cambridgeshire District Council is putting the finishing touches to its no-smoking policy.
Council principle environment health officer Liz Knox said: "We are trying to encourage businesses to adopt a smoke-free policy and we have got to lead by example.
"There were also issues about having workers huddled around the front door smoking cigarettes - it didn't look good.
"UNISON also raised the fact that smokers are being given three five-minute smoking breaks a day which effectively gives them permission to cause problems to their health.
"The union calculated that each year smokers get an extra week off to go and smoke.
" If someone had a drug or alcohol problem would we be giving them 15 minutes a day to deal with it?"
The council has smoke-free offices but its policy, which will also ban smoking in the grounds,went before its personnel committee this week after being passed by the management team and the consultative committee.
Ely's Atrium Club is applying for its National Clean Air Award and owner Kathy Bradney said most people had been supportive of its smoke-free policy.
"We are a health and fitness club and have always been smoke-free within the building and the grounds," she said.
There is local specialist support available throughout Cambridgeshire for workplaces developing and implementing smoke-free policies.
The support is free of charge and can be tailored to the needs of the individual workplace.
INFO: Anyone interested can contact Zoe Harvey, tobacco control co-ordinator, on 01480 398585 or you can get details by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The East Cambridgeshire and Fenland NHS Stop Smoking Service runs local clinics for smokers who would like to quit and can be contacted on 0800 018 4304.
# Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals;
# Just 30 minutes' exposure to tobacco smoke is enough to reduce the blood flow to and from the heart;
# Non-smokers exposed to smoke in the home have a 25 per cent increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer;
# In the hospitality industry, 54 people die every year as a result of passive smoking;
# In households where both parents smoke, young children have a 72 per cent increased risk of respiratory illness.