The law on ... Smoking

17th April 2009 at 01:00

Basic issues

From July 1, 2007, it became unlawful for anyone to be found smoking in an enclosed or substantially enclosed area. Although school grounds may not be covered by this legislation, it is good practice to have a blanket non- smoking policy as this will discourage pupils from starting smoking or continuing to do so. It would also make a school eligible for a National Clean Air Award.

All schools should have a non-smoking policy as well as an anti-drug policy to promote healthy lifestyles to pupils, the right to breathe clean air and to avoid the dangers of passive smoking. These policies should be explicit and made available to all members of staff, parents, visitors and governors. It also helps you to ensure that pupils are constantly reminded of the dangers of smoking and should be encouraged to follow non-smoking role models.

The basic principles surrounding non-smoking polices relate not only to pupils' health and safety within the school environment but also extend to staff. The associated risks of long-term damage caused by smoking are covered within the national curriculum.

Who is responsible?

The whole school is responsible for establishing a non-smoking policy and everyone should have the duty to respond to breaches of the policy.

The ultimate responsibility for dealing with any reported breaches, however, rests with the headteacher. It is at their discretion how the matter is dealt with, using the wide range of responses that are available to them.

It is important that the headteacher takes account of all circumstances of the incident, investigates the matter fully and is, above all, fair. All reported incidents should be logged in writing, together with what action was taken. Breaches of such a policy by pupils can lead to the involvement of parents and may result in disciplinary action in line with the school's behaviour andor exclusion policies. It is good practice for policies of this nature to be reviewed regularly.

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