Smoking Policy

Approved by Council 3rd April 2009 (Updated March 2014)

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on employers to “provide and maintain a safe working environment which is, so far as is reasonably practical, safe, without risks to health and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work”.

The Health Act 2006 came into effect in Summer 2007.  The new legislation made provision for the prohibition of smoking in work premises, places and vehicles.  The University of Keele has adopted a policy on smoking that is designed to secure a healthy and safe environment for students and staff as well as eliminating passive smoking from its premises in keeping with the Health Act 2006. 

The University is committed to providing support to those employees who wish to stop smoking.


 This policy applies to all University staff and students, as well as to visitors, conference delegates, contractors and sub-contractors whilst on University premises.

Smoking is prohibited:

  • within all University work, work related, public  and student premises including the Students' Union and the Keele Postgraduate Association  Clubhouse;
  • within vehicles owned and operated by the University;
  • within leased vehicles used during University business;

 No-smoking notices are displayed as appropriate in all University premises and vehicles.

The aim of the smoking ban is to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of passive smoking. 

Staff, students and visitors who wish to smoke are asked to do so within designated smoking areas and shelters and to take a responsible attitude to ensure that designated smoking areas are kept litter free and that they do not stand in close proximity to building entrances, doorways, stairs or open windows.  The University reserves the right to implement ‘exclusion’ zones in relation to any of its public buildings.

This prohibition includes the smoking of e-cigarettes 

This Policy does not apply to privately rented/owned domestic accommodation on campus.  All student accommodation is designated as non-smoking


The University recognises that it has both a moral and legal duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that employees, students and visitors to the University have the right to work, study or visit without being exposed to tobacco smoke. 

In order to promote the health and safety of both students and staff, the University will endeavour to ensure that its premises are free from tobacco smoke.  This policy came into effect from 1 July 2007 (Amended March 2014)

This policy applies to all staff, students, visitors, consultants, agency staff and contractors and is part of the University’s commitment to the health safety and wellbeing of its staff and students. 


In support of the University’s legal obligations, students and staff are expected to take personal responsibility for observing this policy, and should feel able to draw any transgressions to the attention of colleagues, students and visitors to the University.  In accordance with the University's Dignity and Respect Framework, people found smoking tobacco products or e cigarettes in prohibited areas will be expected to give a civil and courteous response when challenged

The University will make provision for individuals who wish to smoke, and in addition to normal arrangements, smokers will be allowed to leave their work place in order to do so.   However, it is not expected that smoking sessions will exceed a total of 15 minutes in a working day.  Employees taking breaks in order to smoke will make up the working time missed through smoking by extending their hours and/or a reduction in the length of their lunch break (subject to the statutory minimum of a 20 minute break for every six hours worked).  It will be the responsibility of the line manager to monitor such breaks.

The responsibility for implementation and monitoring of this policy will rest with Deans/Directors through the appropriate Heads of School/Department/Research Institute Directors. 

Exclusion Zones around Buildings

Exclusion zones around buildings, and designated smoking areas and shelters will be clearly marked as such and appropriate signposting will be in place.

The use and location of designated smoking areas should be regularly reviewed through Health and Safety user groups working within a building. Concerns or suggestions for change should be reported to the Head of Occupational Health and Safety, for discussion at the Health and Safety Standing Committee.

Complaints Procedure

Staff wishing to register a complaint regarding an incident of non-compliance with this Policy should, in the first instance, contact their line manager or their Workplace Safety Adviser.  If the complaint is not dealt with to their satisfaction, they should then contact their Head of School/Department/ Director of Research Institute. 

Advice will be available through the Head of Occupational Health and Safety


Any breach of this policy may constitute a disciplinary offence under the appropriate student/staff disciplinary procedures. Smoking within public buildings will constitute a clear breach of this policy

Help to Stop Smoking

The University is committed to providing support to those employees who wish to stop smoking.  Employees may wish to look at the following websites:

NHS: Help to stop smoking

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

Smokefree England

Alternatively the Department of Occupational Health may be able to signpost employees to local organisations that can offer advice on a one to one basis.  This will be dependent on local initiatives that are available at the time of the enquiry.


The Head of the Department of Occupational Health and Safety along with the Human Resources Department have the responsibility for initiating and ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this policy.

Any queries on the application or interpretation of this policy must be discussed with the Head of the Department of Occupational Health and Safety or the Human Resources Department prior to any action being taken. 

Smoking Policy (pdf)