Second-hand smoke and health

At the centre of the smoke-free legislation is the need to eliminate the exposure of workers to second-hand smoke in their workplace.

Second-hand smoking is widely recognised as carrying significant health risks, and employers have a duty to protect their employees.

Ventilation isn't the answer to second-hand smoke. Increasing ventilation can dilute the smoke in a room, but will not make it safe since there is no known safe level of exposure to the dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke. Indeed, it would take a tornado-strength level of ventilation to reduce the health risks significantly.

Systems that filter the air aren't effective either, because they only trap the particles in cigarette smoke, not the cancer-causing chemicals and toxic gases.

It has been estimated that exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace causes about 700 deaths each year across the UK, including the death of one hospitality worker per week. This is three times the number of people killed in all industrial accidents in the UK.

For further information on second-hand smoke click on the links below:

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