From Monday, October 3, all Aberdeenshire Council sites will be smoke-free, making Aberdeenshire one of the first local authorities to implement a policy that prohibits smoking or using e-cigarettes on council grounds.
This comes as part of the Scottish Government’s Creating a Tobacco Free Generation strategy.
Now, councillors, employees, volunteers, contractors, visitors, service users and tenants are prohibited from lighting up in any area within or around a premises owned by Aberdeenshire Council, including car parks (not pay and display), cars parked in council car parks and grounds and buildings, to include leased buildings. Some sites for service users, such as residential accommodation, are exempt but no sites are exempt for staff.
Advisory signage is in place and extensive work continues to ensure employees across all services and locations, as well as partners, tenants, visitors and residents understand and follow the policy. Individuals are accountable for monitoring implementation of the policy on-site and staff must report anyone not complying. Pocket-size prompt cards are available to help staff approach someone smoking on site in a non-confrontational way. For smokers, reusable pocket ashtrays are available and support to stop smoking has also been offered.
Susan Forbes, Health Improvement Officer for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Introducing smoke-free grounds across Aberdeenshire Council sites will help put smoking out of sight, out of mind and out of fashion. Protecting and promoting the health and wellbeing of employees, service users and those in our communities in relation to smoking and passive smoking is so important. Aberdeenshire Council is taking this positive step to show that smoking is now not the norm, hoping to reduce the appeal of smoking, especially to the younger generation, so that it becomes a thing of the past.”
Garioch Area Manager and Chair of the Aberdeenshire Health Inequalities Group, Douglas Milne, said: “Aberdeenshire is one of the first few Scottish local authorities to implement the government’s strategy for creating a tobacco-free generation. The health and wellbeing of our staff and residents is of top concern and this is representative of that.”
The policy has been rolled out on a phased basis during 2016, following in the footsteps of NHS Grampian and The City of Edinburgh Council. A similar policy has recently been adopted by Aberdeen City Council. Business Services became smoke-free on May 3, Infrastructure Services on June 6, Education & Children’s Services on August 15 and, now, Health & Social Care Services on October 3.