Smoking in the Workplace

Cigarettes and butts are a health and safety hazard - they contain toxic and non-biodegradable materials which can remain in the environment for up to 10 years, and they can start runaway fires.

View: Whats in a Cigarette‌ and Smoking Impacts‌.

RU Smoking Policy ‌:

Note: both the OHS Act‌ and the Tobacco Products Control Act [note‌] apply, and all Rhodes University staff, students and visitors should note:

  • Respect the rights of non-smokers to breathe clean air – it’s the law.

  • No smoking near buildings.

  • No smoking in partially enclosed areas, e.g. walkways, verandas, courtyards, balconies, etc.

  • Smoking must be downwind and at least 10 metres away from openings – doors, windows, aircon inlets, etc.

  • Smoking is a fire hazard – dispose of extinguished cigarettes in cigarette butt bins.

NO Smoking Sign RU

RU Guidelines Designated Smoking Areas

‌Rights of Non-smokers:

‌RU Procedures:

RU Smoking Policy ‌ - this is the responsibility of the Health & Safety Committee‌ - with input from key stakeholders at RU, including the Human Resources Division‌, Registrar‌, Infrastructure and Operations Division Services‌, and Student Affairs‌. 

Sections and departments shall take the following steps:

  1. Compliance: send regular emails/circulars reminding staff and students of RU's smoking rules.

  2. Signage: arrange regulatory signage - NO Smoking Sign RU‌ - near main entrances and air inlets. More info: Safety Signage

  3. Designated Smoking Areas: contact Infrastructure and Operations Division - Facilities Services - for cigarette Butt BIN. See RU Guidelines Designated Smoking Areas

  4. Human resource management: the issue of time taken off for smoking during office hours should also receive attention.

Notes and Resources:

Tobacco use also ...

Harms Development Harms Environment Harms Equality Harms NCDs
Buying tobacco robs families of the resources they need to rise out of poverty. A smoker in South Africa would have to spend 10.6% of the national median income to purchase 10 of the cheapest cigarettes to smoke each day. Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded piece of waste worldwide. It is estimated that 1.69 billion pounds of butts wind up as toxic trash, which is roughly equivalent to the weight of 177,895 endangered African elephants. To find more customers, the tobacco industry markets its products aggressively to women and children. People living with mental illness are nearly twice as likely to smoke as other persons.

Source: Health 24 and Tobacco Atlas.

An extract from the Tobacco Products Control Act‌, 2. Control over smoking of tobacco products

1) a) No person may smoke any tobacco product in—

i) a public place;

ii) any area within a prescribed distance from a window of, ventilation inlet of, doorway to or entrance into a public place;

iii) any motor vehicle when a child under the age of 12 years is present in that vehicle; or

iv) any place contemplated in subsection (3).

b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the Minister may permit smoking in the prescribed portion of a public place, subject to any prescribed condition.

c) Notwithstanding the fact that a private dwelling is excluded from the definition of 'workplace', no person may smoke any tobacco product in a private dwelling if that private dwelling is used for any commercial childcare activity, or for schooling or tutoring.

2) The owner of or person in control of a place or an area contemplated in subsection (1)(a), or an employer in respect of a workplace, shall ensure that no person smokes in that place or area.

3) The Minister may prohibit the smoking of any tobacco product in any prescribed outdoor public place, or such portion of an outdoor public place as may be prescribed, where persons are likely to congregate within close proximity of one another or where smoking may pose a fire or other hazard.

4) The owner of or person in control of a place or area contemplated in subsection (1)(a), or employer in respect of a workplace, shall display the prescribed signs and shall make the prescribed public announcements in order to inform any person who enters or who is in or on such place or area of any prohibition on smoking.

5) An employer must ensure that—

a) employees may object to smoking in the workplace in contravention of this Act without retaliation of any kind;

b) employees who do not want to be exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are not so exposed;

c) it is not a condition of employment, expressly or implied, that any employee is required to work in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted; and

d) employees are not required to sign any indemnity for working in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted.

6) The owner of or person in control of a place or area contemplated in subsection (1)(a), or employer in respect of a workplace, shall ensure that no person under the age of 18 years is present in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted or in the area within a public place contemplated in subsection (1)(b) in or on which smoking is permitted.

7) Sections 80 to 89 of the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003), apply with the necessary changes to this section.

An extract from the Tobacco Products Control Act‌, Notice relating to Smoking of Tobacco Products in Public Places:

3) An employer, owner, licensee, lessee or person in control of a public place may designate a portion of a public place as a smoking area, provided that-

a) the designated smoking area does not exceed 25% of the total floor area of the public place;

b) the designated smoking area is separated from the rest of the public place by a solid partition and an entrance door on which the sign "SMOKING AREA" is displayed, written in black letters, at least 2 cm in height and 1,5 cm in breadth, on a white background;

c) the ventilation of the designated smoking area is such that air from the smoking area is directly exhausted to the outside and is not re-circulated to any other area within the public place;

d) the message: "SMOKING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH AND TO THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN, PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN AND NONSMOKERS. FOR HELP TO QUIT PHONE (011) 720 3145" is displayed at the entrance to the designated smoking area, written in black letters, at least 2 cm in height and 1,5 cm in breadth, on a white background; and

e) notices and signs indicating areas where smoking is permitted and where it is not permitted must be permanently displayed and signs indicating that smoking is not permitted must carry the warning: "ANY PERSON WHO FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THIS NOTICE SHALL BE PROSECUTED AND MAY BE LIABLE TO A FINE".

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Last Modified: Fri, 30 Nov 2018 13:11:45 SAST