`This is the biggest contribution to public health for over fifty years since the introduction of the 1956 Clean Air Acts which rid London of its smog`. That was the message being jointly promoted by Epping Forest District Council and Harlow Council at a seminar entitled `Clear Air – Implementing Smokefree Legislation and Managing the Change` held at Harlow Council`s Water Garden Office on 8 June 2007. Businesses from both Districts were informed by presentations from speakers from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, The British Innkeepers Institute, GASP, West Essex Primary Care Trust and both Local Authorities.
On 1 July 2007, the smokefree legislation will apply to all enclosed or substantially enclosed public places, workplaces and public vehicles including taxis, mini cabs and work vehicles. They are also required to display statutory signage in both premises and relevant vehicles which is available free of charge from Smokefree England. Delegates were given information from manufacturers of shelters and bins should they choose to erect a shelter for smokers at their premises. Help was on hand from West Essex PCT who provided advice for employers and individuals who wished to make the introduction of this legislation a prompt to quit smoking.
Ian Gray of The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said: It was one of the best supported and most professional events I have attended. He continued: This legislation is not a ban on smoking but a prohibition on smoking in enclosed places, which is to protect non-smokers and employees from the effects of second hand smoke.
The questions to the speakers prompted some lively debate that all found beneficial and delegates were pleased to learn that they were not initially going to be fined for non-compliance and that enforcement officers would work with them to help them comply with the legislation. Fines and formal action would only be considered where businesses or individuals were persistent offenders. Leaflets for individuals have been distributed to public locations across the Epping Forest District and the public should look for the Clear Air poster to obtain the leaflets.
Anyone wishing to consider giving up smoking should contact the NHS local stop smoking cessation service on 01279 827 866.
If you would like further information on the Smokefree legislation:
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