Shared learning database

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Published date:
July 2008

An initiative to provide smokefree compliance officers with a simple fact sheet containing information for employers, to support their employees to stop smoking, to be handed out to employers and workplaces in the course of routine visits to check compliance with smokefree legislation.

Guidance the shared learning relates to:
Does the example relate to a general implementation of all NICE guidance?
Does the example relate to a specific implementation of a specific piece of NICE guidance?


Aims and objectives

  • To produce a fact sheet containing information for employers
  • To make the fact sheet available to smokefree compliance officers to take with them on the visits

Reasons for implementing your project

The Government's independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) first summarised the health evidence on secondhand smoke and recommended smokefree workplaces in 1998. The tobacco white paper "Smoking kills" reinforced the message that people should not have to be exposed to cigarette smoke. But in 2004, about half of British workplaces still allowed some degree of smoking on the premises.

Shifting the balance towards smokefree workplaces and public places has become a key aspect of the government's health strategy, as highlighted in the public health white paper "Choosing health". Virtually all workplaces in England would become smokefree when the regulations resulting from the 2006 Health Act came into force on 1 July 2007. Local authority compliance officers (including environmental health officers, health and safety officers, trading standards officers and licensing officers) undertook visits to business premises in order to secure compliance with the smokefree legislation. They were able to inform, advise, warn and state the legal requirements and consequences of non-compliance. In this advisory/regulatory role, they had a position of awareness and authority and can be seen as a credible advocate for actions to stop smoking. It was anticipated that many employers would wish to encourage and support staff to reduce or stop smoking as a means of complying with the smokefree requirements.

Other employers might be unsympathetic to the difficulties experienced by staff no longer able to smoke in their workplaces. In both cases, the provision of information in a simple format, derived from the NICE Guidance would be a means of facilitating a discussion by the compliance officer with the employer and may trigger the employer into further discussion with employees and the adoption of actions recommended by the guidance.

How did you implement the project

The fact sheet was produced by the Implementation Team at NICE with input from the CIEH.

The NICE fact sheet was included in the training materials provided for those attending the smokefree compliance officer training (delivered by CIEH with funding from DH) which took place advance of the 1st July. It was also - provided in quantities to all attendees at the training sessions to take away and distribute on their visits to business premises - distributed in an electronic format to all local authorities via the e-mail distribution network maintained by CIEH - posted on the CIEH website from where it could be downloaded. available to smokefree compliance officers to take with them on the visits.

Key findings

No monitoring or evaluation was carried out. The overall effectiveness of the introduction of the smokefree legislation in England is reported by the Department of Health in the report Smokefree England - one year on.

Key learning points

Consider what messages derived from NICE Guidance the members of your organisation might communicate and to whom. Discuss with NICE Implementation Team the assistance you need to prepare and deliver the messages. Consider how such messages can be delivered opportunistically, as part of a package of messages, or in association with other duties and activiites.

Contact details

Ian Gray
Principal Policy Officer
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Is the example industry-sponsored in any way?