Human Resources

Smoking Policy

Background and purpose

 The Health Act 2006 prohibits smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, and includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked in all public premises including workplaces and vehicles.

The purpose of this policy is to provide clear guidance as to how this legislation applies to all staff, students and visitors of Birkbeck College. It also outlines the assistance which will be given to employees who wish to stop smoking.

The Health Act definition of smoking does not include e-cigarettes. However, all restrictions on smoking in this policy will apply equally to the use of e-cigarettes .

This policy has been agreed after consultation between representatives of management and the safety representatives of the recognised Trade Unions, it will be copied to all established employees. No-smoking signage will be displayed in all College premises and vehicles.


All established and temporary employees, contractors and consultants, agency staff, students and visitors to the College.

Policy statement

Birkbeck College seeks to promote a safe and healthy working environment for all staff, students and visitors. Prohibiting both smoking and the use of e-cigarettes within College premises aims also to restrict potential nuisance and distraction, and to contribute to the maintenance of a professional environment.


Smoking or being in possession of lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes, or using e-cigarettes, is not permitted in any premises occupied or utilised by Birkbeck staff, students and visitors, or in College vehicles, or in any areas within the College’s jurisdiction. Staff are only permitted to smoke or use e-cigarettes in the designated areas within the George Birkbeck Bar on the fourth floor of Malet Street.

Smoking on work premises or in Birkbeck vehicles will be an offence under the Health Act 2006. 

In the unlikely event that a member of the Birkbeck community does not comply with the policy, disciplinary action may be taken.

Guidance for employees and managers

Staff who wish to smoke or use e-cigarettes during the working day may be permitted reasonable breaks, in agreement with their line manager, provided these do not prevent them from satisfactorily carrying out their responsibilities and work duties.  Work time lost to breaks unrelated to work activity should be made up as necessary; this applies equally to smokers (including users of e-cigarettes) and non-smokers.

6.0. Assistance to give up smoking

There are a number of sources of information and advice on giving up smoking. One of the best sites is the NHS’s, Go Smoke Free. A selection of other sources are listed below:

This is the official NHS site, which has a wealth of information and advice, including free and low-cost options available to smokers on the NHS.

ASH is a campaigning public health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco.

Nicorette ActiveStop is a support programme developed by experts to help smokers quit. It advertises therapies using the internet and mobile phone.

QUIT is the independent charity whose aim is to save lives by helping smokers to stop.


All those persons referred to within the scope of this policy are required to be familiar with the terms of this policy.  Responsibility for ensuring that staff observe the College policy on smoking and the use of e-cigarettes shall rest with the appropriate line managers within the College. Any queries on the application or interpretation of this policy should be discussed with the Health & Safety Officer or Human Resources department prior to any action being taken.

The Human Resources department and the Health & Safety Officer have the responsibility for initiating and ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this policy.  Revisions, amendments or alterations to the policy will be notified to all employees prior to implementation. This policy (February 2019) replaces any earlier policy on this subject.

Approval provided by: Health & Safety Committee
Date approved by Committee: 13 February 2019
Policy Author: Health & Safety Advisor/HR Project & Policy Lead
Version Number: 2
Planned date of next review February 2022
Date EA completed: N/A


Health Act (2006)

College Safety Policy

Disciplinary Policy

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX