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Approaching people who are smoking in a non-smoking area

Posted 9 Jun, 2017

With new smokefree legislation coming in on 1 August and a greater number of places becoming smokefree, we have recently received queries about how to best approach people smoking in areas such as out the front of hospitals, at sporting grounds and in cafes.

Having smokefree spaces – particularly workplaces – is important in ensuring that all parties, staff, visitors, customers, and patients are not exposed to second hand smoke. Whilst many venues have clear signage prohibiting smoking, you may still find there are people who are unaware of the smokefree policy at your facility. Approaching those who are smoking in a smokefree area can be difficult, so here are some tips to help you approach a smoker in a careful and safe manner:

  • Maintain a friendly and polite manner
  • Request gently that they put out their cigarette as it’s not permitted in the area
  • Be courteous but firm
  • If the person responds with aggression, apathy or anger, walk away.
  • If the situation escalates, follow your organisation’s/service’s policy on handling aggressive conduct.

Cancer Council WA has developed an excellent video for hospital workers that offers great examples of how to approach different types of people smoking in various scenarios.  While these are hospital-based, they may be useful for other situations.

You can watch the video here https://makesmokinghistory.org.au/communityservices/resources-and-training

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