Smoking Policy in the Workplace

The South African legislation with regards to smoking is one of the strictest in the world. The Smoking Policy in the Workplace's rules and regulations are stipulated in the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 63 of 2008. The Smoking Policy must be applied within three months from the date of coming into operation of the business. This is one of the many workplace aspects that have legal implications and companies should take it into serious consideration.

Smoking Policy in the Workplace

The Smoking Policy in the workplace is not regulated by Labour Law but only by The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 63 of 2008. In terms of this Act, the employer is obliged to take steps to protect his non-smoking staff from the cigarette smoke of the smokers.
What the Tobacco Products Control Act states about Smoking Policy in the workplace:

  • Employers are not obliged, whatsoever, to provide smoke breaks for smokers.
  • If the employer does provide smoke breaks, he is entitled to insist that those employees compensate for time taken for ‘smoke breaks’ by working over-time without additional numeration.
  • He also has the option to total up the ‘smoke breaks time’ and deduct it from employees' wages at month end.
  • The employer is entitled to ban smoking completely on his building or in the workplace if he wishes to.
  • Alternatively, he has a choice to designate any area of his choice to be the smoking area This could be the roof of the building or the car park.
  • The Employer is under no obligation to provide an alternative smoking area in the event of inclement weather.

MAKROSAFE have been assisting clients for more than 23 years with Policies, for all your Smoking Policy, Smoking Signage and more, CONTACT US now.

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In short, the employer is under no obligation to facilitate the addiction of the smoker to the drug nicotine. He is also under no obligation to facilitate the addiction of any employee who may be addicted to alcohol, narcotics and so on. While this may sound logic, it is easier said than done. Tobacco, alcohol and drugs are addictive and addicts often have difficulties to accept reality that limits their ability to enjoy their addiction.

It is important to know that in the Act the workplace is referred to as being a public place.
The employer is obligated to comply with the following regulations in the Act if he wishes to provide a smoking area:
An employer or person in control of a public place may designate a portion of a public place as a smoking area, provided that-
a) the designated smoking area does not exceed 25% of the total floor area of the public place
b) the designated smoking area is separated from the rest of the public place by a solid partition
c) an entrance door on which the sign “SMOKING AREA” is displayed, written in black letters, at least 2 cm in height and 1,5 cm in breadth, on a white background is in place
d) the ventilation of the designated smoking area is such that air from the smoking area is directly exhausted to the outside and is not re-circulated to any other area within the public place;
d) the message: “SMOKING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH AND TO THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN, PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN AND NONSMOKERS. FOR HELP TO QUIT PHONE (011) 720 3145  is displayed at the entrance to the designated smoking area, written in black letters, at least 2 cm in height and 1,5 cm in breadth, on a white background
e) notices and signs indicating areas where smoking is permitted and where it is not permitted must be permanently displayed and signs indicating that smoking is not permitted must carry the warning: “ANY PERSON WHO FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THIS NOTICE SHALL BE PROSECUTED AND MAY BE LIABLE TO A FINE”.

Non-Smoking Employees

An employer or person in control of a public place must ensure that no person smokes anywhere other than in the designated smoking area in that public place. He must protect non-smoking employees or he may choose to totally prohibit smoking in that place.

MAKROSAFE has all this knowledge of the relevant legislation that they have been helping companies for many years to draft Smoking Policy plans. Contact them and they will offer you advice and help you implement yours.


Posted date: 9th May 2022
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