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Tuesday 19th June 2018

Employers to help smokers quit

25th April 2007

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said workers should be able to take paid time off work in order to stop smoking.


NICE have issued businesses in England with guidelines prior to the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces and workplaces. The ban comes into force on 1 July.

The guidance recommends employers should develop targeted policies in order to support employees who wish to stop smoking. These policies should include information to show staff where they can go for help.

Estimates show that smoking costs industry £5billion in lost productivity, fire damage and absenteeism. The government has predicted the ban will cause 600,000 people to stop smoking.

Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE, commented: "Going smoke-free is a win-win situation for both employers and employees, and our advice sets out the best approach to making it happen."

Dr John Moore-Gillon, President of the British Lung Foundation said: "We hope all employers would try to improve the general health of their employees."

He commented that employers would have to decide how much time off they would allow their employees and suggested the idea of lunchtime or after work clinics.

Simon Clark, director of the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest), called the idea of paid stop-smoking clinics during work hours "absolutely ridiculous."

He stated: "It's wrong to expect employers to accept employees taking time off, and I imagine their non-smoking colleagues will be very unhappy about it."

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