Smokefree Workplaces

Smokefree Workplaces

Creating a Smokefree work environment benefits health, the community and your business.

Making your workplace Smokefree supports the vision of a Smokefree New Zealand/Aotearoa by 2025.

Developing a Workplace Smokefree Policy


There are a few options to consider to help design a Smokefree policy that suit the needs of your workplace.

The Smokefree Environments Act 1990 and subsequent amendments require that all indoor workplaces are Smokefree.

Policies should aim to reduce the effects of second and third hand smoke, and protect everyone from tobacco smoke exposure, reducing smoking related harm.

Many workplaces encourage a total Smokefree culture across their organisation. A complete ban on smoking provides a supportive environment which encourages young people and ex-smokers to remain smokefree and supports the quit attempts of those wanting to quit. Nicotine replacement (NRT) is available for those who are not ready to kick the habit, to help manage their tobacco dependence while in a Smokefree environment.

Before you begin developing your policy, you need to decide how far you would like to take it.

Visit the Quit Group website for further information and a sample policy.

Get more information on legal opinions relating to smoking in the workplace.

Step one: Decide on how much of your work space will be smoke free

There are two options for to consider:

  • Total smoking bans
    This means creating a completely smokefree workplace, including making the grounds smokefree with no designated smoking areas. Research shows that these total bans change smoking behaviour by inspiring people who smoke to quit, or cut down and make their home Smokefree. They also keep non-smokers and young people Smokefree. Or;
  • Partial bans with designated outdoor smoking areas
    This approach specifies a particular area as a designated smoking area. The benefit of this approach is that it limits smoking and related rubbish to a specific area and reduces second-hand smoke exposure. This approach may be an interim step before implementing a total smoking ban.

Step 2: How much further can I take it?

The law sets the minimum standard required, but policies are able to put as many restrictions on smoking and smoking behaviour as they like.

These can include:

Get more details on second hand smoke.

Get more information on third hand smoke [PDF].

Visit the Ministry of Health website for more information on e-cigarettes.

Step 3: Managing expectations

It may take time for staff in your workplace to fully comply with the new policy. Expect that there will be some staff who will not adhere to the policy. Don’t be disheartened, positive behaviour changes take time. Smokefree Canterbury suggests starting with a staff survey to help understand the views and concerns of staff about introducing a Smokefree environment.

View our sample employee survey on smoking.

Provide clear, consistent information on the policy and where smoking is/isn’t permitted.  Ensure that the roles and responsibilities for managing non-compliance are designated and everyone is aware of the consequences of breaches.