New anti-smoking laws a win for employers striving to keep a safe and clean workplace

Published December 09, 2021 Ben Fairfax
Cigarette Ban

Employers will soon be able to better ensure a smoke-free environment in and around their workplace, following the announcement of new laws that will make it illegal for young people to ever purchase cigarettes.

Under the changes (which are not yet law), those aged 14 or younger when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco for the rest of their lives.

With the attitude toward smoking shifting over the past several decades, and the focus on workplace health and safety at the forefront of employers’ minds, ensuring a future without cigarettes will allow and empower employers to run a safer business.

“While smoking was once considered the social norm, in modern day New Zealand there has been a clear shift towards a more healthier lifestyle,” said Employsure employment relations specialist Maddie McKenzie.

“Smoking has been banned inside businesses for quite some time, and we’ve seen some employers take that one step further and forbid staff from smoking in the vicinity of their building.

“We’ve also seen cases of some employers who post job ads with the specification they are after ‘non-smokers only’. While some might consider this unreasonable it is not unlawful, and there is no one single law that deals solely with job advertisements, although employers should be mindful of what is included to ensure the advertisement does not reflect unlawful discrimination.

“Once this new law comes into effect and young people affected by this tobacco ban start eventually looking for work, employers won’t have to worry as much about whether or not they are smokers due to their legal incapacity to buy cigarettes. Thanks to this law we will start to see the number of active smokers dwindle over time, which will result in a healthier and cleaner population.

“Second-hand smoke has been recognised as a significant workplace hazard, and in a workplace it’s the employers’ responsibility to provide a healthy and safe environment. This is now one less problem employers, particularly small business owners, will have to worry about, and it will enable them to run their business more smoothly with less worry.”

Employsure receives an average of 29,000 calls to its employer advice line a month, from a client base of 31,000 across Australia and New Zealand. Of this number, several thousand of these monthly calls are from small business owners with questions on how to better manage workplace health and safety in their business.

Employers can access a number of free e-guides regarding workplace health and safety from Employsure’s website, to get the templates and tools they need to assess their workplace, prepare their business and protect their people.


Media enquiries:

Matthew Bridges

[email protected]

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