Changes to the council’s smokefree policy and the new vaping policy take effect from today (1 October) for all employees, customers, visitors, contractors, volunteers and members of the public while on council premises.
The policies now state that smoking and vaping is not permitted on any Council premises including within grounds, courtyards, at entranceways, car parks, depots, or on any approach to any Council buildings. Smoking and vaping are not permitted in areas across from council buildings where the effects of smoke may be harmful to others or unpleasant to others.
Harm to bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour and the risks to their health are likely to be extremely low however the council’s vaping policy takes in to account that some people find e-cigarette vapour unpleasant and that people with asthma and other respiratory conditions can be sensitive to a range of environmental irritants, which could include e-cigarette vapour.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said:
It is our ambition to have a smokefree generation by 2025 – a future where no-one can remember the last time they knew someone who started smoking – and we are working hard with our Smokefree Sheffield partners in commitment to achieving this.
We have a responsibility to protect the health of our employees as well as the health of Sheffield’s population as a whole and as one of the largest organisations and employers in the city it is absolutely right that we lead the way with our smokefree policy.
We are supporting colleagues through the changes and offering help to those who want to stop smoking or switch to vaping. We are in a great position to do this in Sheffield because we have a comprehensive range of partners delivering smokefree services.
The council has introduced the changes to help protect the health of its employees and residents and make its workplaces more pleasant, healthier environments for everyone.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said:
We want to help and support our employees who smoke to quit or switch to vaping and support them to lead healthier lives.
Tobacco causes serious harm to health and kills 16 people a week in Sheffield. We know it is a difficult addiction to overcome but quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health. With the authority’s clearer smokefree policies and Sheffield’s joined up approach to support, we can make a difference to many more people’s lives.
The polices have been developed based on the current best evidence and practice from Public Health England which now recommends that separate policies are in place to ensure the distinction between vaping and smoking is clear.
This evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are significantly safer than smoking tobacco. The council promotes vaping responsibly to support smokers to either stop smoking completely or switch to vaping, but vaping is not permitted on council premises because the policy also looks at professional etiquette, corporate reputation and consideration to others who do not vape.
No smoking or vaping signs have been put up outside council buildings.
Other organisations in Sheffield that are also launching or have already introduced Smokefree policies include: Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust, Sheffield Social Care Trust, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.