HC Deb 13 June 2000 vol 351 c606W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on(a) the effectiveness of his Department's no-smoking policy and (b) the proportion of his Department's offices that do not allow smoking. [125149]

Mr. Rooker

The Department has a policy statement on smoking at work. Its objective is to provide a smoke-free environment at all workplaces and most other areas within its offices not covered by a mandatory ban on smoking.

In practice, the needs of smokers are taken into account, when necessary, by the provision of properly vented smoking rooms isolated from staff working areas when they can be accommodated within the structure of the building; otherwise staff must smoke outside the building.

This policy effectively means that no member of staff is put in a position whereby they are exposed to passive smoking while carrying out their duties on DSS occupied premises.

The proportion of the Department's offices which do not allow smoking anywhere in the building is not known. The decision not to allow smoking will have been taken only after a staff consultation exercise has taken place in each building and either, staff have decided in favour of a total ban, or, suitable accommodation cannot be found in the building to adapt as a smoking room. It is estimated that the number of buildings with a total ban on smoking is low.