Some smokers in Northumberland are being given an extra incentive to kick the habit this New Year – the threat of disciplinary action at work.
The county council policy started on New Year’s Day and not only bans people smoking in the office or a council vehicle, but also in their own private car if they use it to give a colleague a lift to work.
In fact, the colleague would be expected to blow the whistle on the driver.
The policy says: ‘All members of staff have a role to play in enforcing the policy and are required to report any observed or reported breaches to their manager and/or to the head of property services.’
It explains: ‘Smokers will be allowed to smoke only at locations at least 30 metres from the premises (or work vehicle) and away from public view.
‘This avoids the health risks posed by second-hand smoke entering buildings through doorways and windows.
‘It also ensures that the council, with its leadership role and public health responsibilities, is not associated with smoking and that we seek to de-normalise it, especially for the sake of children and young people.
‘For this reason, where practical, NCC badges or uniforms should be covered when smoking.’
The authority says it is committed to supporting the health and well-being of its employees.
‘The council is also very aware that as the largest employer in Northumberland, it can influence the wider community through its workforce.’
It says it will support staff who want to quit, and those who try with support are four times more likely to succeed than those who go it alone.
It recommends advice from freshne.com, www.smokefree.nhs.uk and Northumberland NHS on 01670 813135.