From 1 October, a smoke free policy will be introduced at Cambridgeshire County Council sites, both indoors and outdoors and applies to everyone - staff, councillors, visitors and contractors.
Its introduction comes after County Councillors voted for its implementation earlier in the year and its launch will coincide with the National Stop Smoking Campaign, Stoptober.
The 'Smoke Free Environments Policy' is designed to protect the health of all employees and visitors who use the council's services and facilities. Evidence shows there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. The policy will also be launched at Park and Ride sites a week later on 6 October.
In Cambridgeshire, about 770 deaths each year are attributed to smoking, the majority from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease. That's an average of nearly 15 deaths every week. Each year in England it is estimated that smoking costs society approximately Â£13.74 billion. This is made up of output lost from early death, smoking breaks, NHS care, sick days, passive smoking, domestic fires and smoking litter.
As part of the policy, the council will ensure staff are supported through the change. Employees who want to stop smoking will be given full support by the council, including being able to access Camquit, Cambridgeshire's Stop Smoking Service (0800 018 4304) http://www.camquit.nhs.uk/).
Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Tony Orgee, Chairman of the County's Health and Well-Being Board, said: "From 1 October, all Cambridgeshire County Council sites will be smoke free. I'm really pleased to see the County Council leading on this this and the policy sends out a clear message that smoking, both active and passive, is harmful to health and is costly to society. We ask employees, contractors and visitors to respect this policy."
Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Kilian Bourke, Chairman of the Council's Health Committee, said: â€œCambridgeshire County Council now leads on Public Health for the county and introducing a smoke free policy across all our sites sends out a strong message that we are taking this responsibility seriously.
â€œAt least 770 Cambridgeshire people die of smoking-related illness annually, which is more than three times the number of deaths caused by alcohol, road traffic accidents and drug misuse together, so it is vital that we get this message across very clearly.
â€œHowever, it is also important that, rather than just banning smoking on its property, the Council provides intensive ongoing support for staff who want to quit, and I know that this has been happening, with Camquit advisors offering advice and support to anyone living or working in Cambridgeshire.
â€œI'd urge anyone considering quitting to take up the free offer from Camquit, Cambridgeshire's Stop Smoking Service. By using their expertise, you are five times more likely to quit for good.â€