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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 04:54 GMT
Council backs smoking break ban
West Lancashire Council, Ormskirk
The ban would also apply to the areas around council buildings
A district council is set to ban its staff from taking paid smoking breaks at work.

Cabinet members on West Lancashire District Council approved a complete ban on smoking in its buildings and outside council premises.

Workers who ignore the ban will face disciplinary action and could lose their jobs, the council said.

The smokers' rights group Forest condemned the council's decision as a "complete overreaction".

The ban is intended to come into force in March next year, with help offered to those who want to give up.

'Care and concern'

All council-owned premises will come under the legislation along with council-owned cars, which the proposed policy said "must not be used as smoking shelters".

Smoking will be banned at communal areas of sheltered housing, but will be allowed in private accommodation.

The policy said employees can smoke in their lunch breaks, "however it must take place away from council premises and buildings and outside the grounds".

Leader of the council, Geoff Roberts, said the proposal had been approved unanimously and should be agreed by the full council next month.

He added: "We are going to do all we can to help them cope with this.

"The whole issue is based upon the care and concern for our staff."

A spokesman for Forest said: "We think it's a complete overreaction by West Lancs Council.

"A lot of the non-smokers who complain about smokers taking cigarette breaks are the same people who play computer games, email their friends and have endless cups of coffee.

"The fact is, we all need these little breaks to get us through the day and smokers have cigarettes in theirs."




VOTE RESULTS
Are local councils right to ban employees from having cigarette breaks?
Yes
 60.38% 
No
 39.62% 
7024 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Smokers give their views on the ban



SEE ALSO
Ban will 'eradicate lung cancer'
06 Nov 06 |  Scotland
Council agrees smoke-free working
05 Oct 06 |  North East Wales

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