From 26th March 2006 Scotland joins a number of other countries benefiting from comprehensive legislation to remove second-hand smoke from most public places and workplaces.
This legislation offers an historic opportunity to improve levels of public health in Scotland and to reduce health inequalities, both now and for future generations. In turn this will lead to a range of other economic, societal and community benefits, from which everyone gains.
From research and the experience of other countries that have introduced such legislation, a number of benefits can be expected, including:
- Widespread protection from the disease risks associated with tobacco smoke
- Healthier communities as smokers take the opportunity provided by smoke-free workplaces and public places as an opportunity to stop smoking
- A more efficient workforce as sickness absence rates diminish over time as the prevalence of acute degenerative tobacco related disease falls, and a reduction in associated health care and treatment costs
- A workforce that is treated more equitably regardless of their working environment
- A wide range of organisational benefits, including a more productive workforce, improvements in staff morale and working relationships and an improved environment for clients, service users and patients.
To be successful such a move requires careful planning at all levels. This document aims to enable the NHS, local authorities and care service providers in Scotland to comply with the requirements of the legislation and, where possible, go further by developing an approach to tobacco that will maximise the benefits of becoming smoke-free to the organisation and the people associated with it.
The approach set out in this guidance is grounded in evidence-based good practice, informed by the experience and knowledge of the corporate authors. Following it will both ensure compliance with the law and suggest ways of extending good practice and enhancing the benefits.
We invite those working in the NHS, local authorities and other care services providers to commit themselves to the development and implementation of comprehensive organisational tobacco policies. Such a process may take a little time, but the benefits for the organisation, its employees, clients, patients and visitors will be considerable.