Video: The Nottingham public gave their view on the smoking ban
Staff smoking breaks have been banned for all of Nottinghamshire County Council’s 8,800 employees.
The authority took the move saying it hoped to “improve employee health and well-being”.
It means no staff can smoke while at work or on council business – and smokers will be ‘encouraged’ to leave cigarettes at home.
Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chair of the council’s public health committee, said:
“The harm that tobacco causes stretches across all parts of society, and if we are to make significant progress in tackling it locally, we also need to ensure that we address it in the workplace.
“This is not just about saying you cant smoke, we know smoking is an addiction we know you’ll struggle to stop smoking, so lets see how we can help you.”
Smoking is responsible for around 1,300 deaths across the county each year, according to the council.
The smoking ban applies to all staff, including those not in uniform or working away from council buildings.
Counc Bosnjak said: “I don’t want people to smoke at all, however I accept that stopping smoking is really difficult.
So if people are working for the County Council we are saying no smoking. What they do in their own time is entirely up to them but clearly I would prefer they didn’t smoke at all.”
There are over 100,000 smokers in Nottingham which is slightly lower than the national average of 18 per cent.
Chris Kenny, Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire Council, said: “I am very pleased (with the ban) because we know the devastating affects that tobacco can have on peoples life.
“We know that it contributes to heart disease, chronic lung disease and it causes 30 per cent of all cancers, so anything that we can do as an authority to reduce the number of smokers is good.
Smokers are still permitted to light up on their lunch break, providing they change out of any council uniform and leave the council premises.
The authority added the cost of smoking breaks to Nottinghamshire businesses is £86.2m
and treating smoking-related illnesses costs the local NHS in Notts £30.2m each year.