The humble smoking shelter looks set to undergo a cultural and social transformation as the way we think about smoking and outdoor space evolves.
Currently a dwindling band of smokers monopolize a bleak covered area banished to the edge of many company empires.
Now, as we struggle to support stressed staff with a range of health and wellbeing issues this space is slowly being reclaimed in many workplaces by employees who want a quiet outdoor space to reflect, ready to again take on the world.
Streetspace Communications Manager Simon Dolby believes the coming decade will see a sizeable shift in how companies use this outdoor space and that many will invest in making such areas comfortable and welcoming to embrace staff keen on healthier lifestyles.
“Company support for workplace smoking will diminish and the switch to investing in positive health and wellbeing support will grow,” Mr Dolby believes.
“Indoor staff rooms will be supplemented by welcoming all weather covered outdoor spaces that show employers care about the wellbeing of staff.”
Employers should also invest some time and effort to encouraging and supporting staff to quit smoking.
But while cigarette smokers will be relegated to huddling at the edge of sites, Mr Dolby predicts many companies will adopt a more tolerant attitude to vaping and allow users into these outdoor social spaces, provided they follow common-sense rules such as sitting down-wind so smoke does not affect those simply enjoying the space.
“Company support for workplace smoking will diminish and the switch to investing in positive health and wellbeing support will grow,” Simon Dolby, Streetspace
“How employers handle vaping will be interesting as currently the activity is not affecting by smoking legislation. It is an aid to quitting smoking and so should be applauded, but might still be regarded as anti-social in some workplaces,” he said.
- The number of smokers is dropping steadily. New official statistics from Public Health Matters shows that since 2011 there are almost two million fewer smokers in the UK.
- Just under 60 per cent of smokers say they intend to quit and one in five report that they plan to quit in the next three months. These smokers are significantly less likely to have their first cigarette in the first 30 minutes after waking up, which is a key measure of tobacco addiction. This means they have a better chance of quitting successfully.
- The peak age for vaping is now 35-44 (8.1per cent) and around 1 in 8 ex-smokers vape, compared with less than one percent of those who have never smoked.
- Regular e-cigarette use among young people remains low and almost entirely confined to those who smoke or have quit.
Sources: Public Health Matters