• Sweden's news in English

Council touts work at home smoking ban

TT/The Local/pvs · 26 Aug 2011, 07:29

Published: 26 Aug 2011 07:29 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The initiative, which will not apply to politicians in the municipality, has been criticised by the health and safety officer, according to the local Helsingborgs Dagblad daily.

"Moralistic and ridiculous," said Högni Hansson.

Several municipalities in Sweden have already introduced a blanket smoking ban on employees during working hours, covering breaks and often lunch. Landskrona is the latest to consider introducing the measure.

The ban under consideration by Landskrona will mean that staff are not allowed to go outside onto the street during, for example, the group coffee breaks in the morning and afternoon which are common practice in many Swedish workplaces.

Causing further controversy is that the ban is set to cover those working in open spaces and even staff working from home.

Högni Hansson represents the environmental committee at Landskrona council, one of the bodies which have expressed criticism of the policy under consideration.

"Smoking is dangerous but I wonder just how far an employer's powers stretch," he said.

The committee writes in its submission on the danger of mixing up how an individual manages their own health and the need to protect others from the damaging effects of passive smoking.

Story continues below…

The proposed policy has received support from some quarters however, with the education committee keen for the ban to be extended to the smokeless tobacco products "snus".

"We think that working hours should be completely free of tobacco and should also include snus. The most important thing is that adults set a good example," said the education committee chairperson Lisa Flinth to the newspaper.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

08:06 August 26, 2011 by Luke R D
This one's gonna be interesting. Thank you, Sweden. It just gets better and better.
08:50 August 26, 2011 by RobinHood
They should also extend the ban to employees eating marmite, having unmarital sex without a condom, voting SD, wearing socks with sandals, fat men wearing speedos, beards (for men or women), wearing lycra - for anyone over 70 KG's, Hawawian shirts, leopard skin luggage, bad breath, owning a Brittney Spears album and worrying hedgehogs.

This list would be much longer, but I have to go out.
09:20 August 26, 2011 by engagebrain
How can a ban on smoking while working at home be enforced, surprise visits, internet linked smoke detectors ?

Much as I dislike smoking and the companies that profit from it, smoking is legal.

Similarly whether you leave the building in a coffee or lunch break should be of no concern to your employer.
09:26 August 26, 2011 by Grokh
ban smoking while working sure, but when people work from home is idiotic, basically they should just contract nonsmokers then, just like in some jobs you require to wear an uniform, this one would require people not to stink.
09:27 August 26, 2011 by Scott McCoy
Stupid swedes.
09:37 August 26, 2011 by Rick Methven

"This list would be much longer, but I have to go out. "

Was that for a smoke?
10:09 August 26, 2011 by johan rebel
What a bunch of total nutters and fanatical control freaks!

Did anybody see the footage of a group of journalist coming under sniper fire in Tripoli yesterday? They all threw themselves on the ground, but the guy who was smoking made very sure that his cigarette was not extinguished in the process, carefully holding it up between his fingers. Had he been a Swedish journalist, he would no doubt have been recalled and fired. No, wati a second, he wouldn't have been in Tripoli in the first place, because Arbetsmiljöverket and his union would have declared it far too dangerous.

Sweden, the country where the only goal in life is to eliminate every and any risk, no matter how small and unlikely.

Here's some advice for citizens of that poor country:

chuck your security blankets, yank your thumbs out of your mouthes, get a life, and have some fun. You only live once, so you might as well enjoy it!

I do not smoke, by the way. Never have.
10:36 August 26, 2011 by Da Goat
They may as well stop them drinking as well as we don't want anyone accidentally injured because of drunkenness!

yeah stop them smoking at work but good luck at home!

perhaps they should have shuttle buses too in case someone gets run over on the way to and from work as well, can't be too careful you know!

10:46 August 26, 2011 by ReluctantSwede
I'm so glad I movevd out of this country....not to it!

But the downfall will come...as in any supressed society the people will rise once the total lunacy is revealed and the rock steady indoctrination is cracked by events making it too obvious to be denied!

That's what's happening in many places in the world today....just wonder if Sweden will crack before or after China, North Korea or Burma?
11:27 August 26, 2011 by TheGroke
The Local - part of the story, all of the time?????

This is so ridiculous, could there be more behind the story (I hope).

Perhaps a cause of typical The Local reporting... shoot for sensation, not accuracy? Leave out key facts to make a story more sensational? We all know The Local does this all the time (taking care to add a line break after every single sentence of course)

For example - one possibility:

1) employers are tying to cut back on smoking employees taking extra breaks over non-smoking by banning smoking during work hours (OK... kind of makes sense.. though also kind of intrusive)

2) If this is the logic behind doing this at the workplace, they are probably compelled (by law?) to extend the same law to people working from home... so maybe that's how you end up with this seemingly bizarre proposal.

Of course, maybe the Local is right and everyone in Sweden is just slowly going nuts...

Whatever the case, it's not clear why politicians would be exempt....oh, wait... oh yeah, cause they are politicians. Right.... got it!
11:54 August 26, 2011 by Brianito
The key word is "mulling" .... sounds to me like they have been smoking to much of it ! A cigarette takes 5 minutes to smoke, so that is 40 minutes on average per day lost production. Now compare this to the amount of employees that use social websites during working hours and I am sure that the lost production time is a lot more than people who smoke during work hours. So don't just discriminate against the smokers (as per usual). Shame, shame, shame... Landskrona Municipality!
12:52 August 26, 2011 by Flappytango
@ RobinHood

wearing socks with sandals seems to be teh workplace norm
14:05 August 26, 2011 by generalsn
Once these ban fanatics find gullible lawmakers and get a foot in the door, there's no stopping them. The biggest mistake was allowing them to run the country in the first place. It's too late now. the Pandoras box has been opened.
14:32 August 26, 2011 by markusd
What we really need is a ban on bureaucrats and politicians who won't mind their own business.

@ScottMcCoy "Stupid swedes."

That's a bit unfair. At least happy meals are still legal here in Sweden. I'll bet that some idiot in San Francisco proposes this same thing within a year.

@Robinhood "They should also extend the ban to…fat men wearing speedos…"

I agree with this one but it should also include a ban on topless women over 150kg on Europe's beaches. I've seen some scary things in the last few years.
16:28 August 26, 2011 by RobinHood
Honestly! I really don't know what all the fuss is about. Employers often impose terms of behaviour on their employees; always for the employee's benefit of course.

I, for example, have a perfectly reasonable clause in the contracts between me and my female berry picking consultants that entitles me to give them a refreshing and relaxing breast massage whenever I feel like it. Similarly, I am entitled to sleep with a male employee's bride on her wedding night; a right I often exercise, not for my own gratification, but to ensure my employees understand their position in the company and society. First born children delivered during one of their parent's employment, automatically become indentured to my company for a period of 25 years, to ensure they have time to learn the intricacies of the berry picking trade. Unlike Landskrona, I allow my employees to smoke at home, but only cigarettes purchased from my company shop, using the vouchers I give them instead of a cash wage; which they would only waste in ICA, given the chance.

Posters at the Local who recognise the career development opportunities available in the berry picking profession may contact me or my assistant Smithers for further details.
18:26 August 26, 2011 by ReluctantSwede
@Robin Hood, can I please copy your cntract and try to apply it here in the U.K....I'm suicidal!

O'boy...wonder if I can fool someone from another planet to buy my Swedish citizenship on Ebay....doubt it!
19:50 August 26, 2011 by luke123
Swedes let themselves be treated like children by their authoritarian state regime.
20:52 August 26, 2011 by mkvgtired
RobinHood, why would you put all those suggestions on there? There are probably bureaucrats in Stockholm AND Brussels wondering "why didnt we think of that" as we speak.
23:11 August 26, 2011 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
Nanny state gone completely mad.
16:52 August 28, 2011 by yogiman
Doesn't make you wonder? How, and why, has the governments over the world taken government control over their citizens? Even in the nations that aren't under communist control or dictatorship already?

They have reached the point where they tell their citizens what they can and can't do and how they must do them?

Is this government of the people, by the people and for the people? Sure doesn't look like it. It looks like they think: WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT! YOU ARE MERELY THE PEOPLE. YOU DO WHAT WE TELL YOU TO DO.
00:19 August 29, 2011 by arpymo
Just wondering . . . . if you're working from home, do you get to light up when the work day is over, stupid Landskrona government. And it's nice to see that the politicians are exempting themselves from the ban. I think the smoking is clouding their brains.
00:47 August 30, 2011 by HARLEYRIDER1778
In America the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the job of testing indoor air and this was done over several decades:

According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke……..

They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA'S minimum PEL'S on shs/ets…….Did it ever set the debate on fire.

They concluded that:

All this is in a small sealed room 9-20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes

For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y
15:31 August 30, 2011 by Howlonguntilfreespeechisbanned
Will those working at home be banned from heating their homes with biofuels, such as wood, oil, gas and coal? Independent research suggests that the fumes from biomass-burning appliances are more 'lethal' than secondhand tobacco smoke.

If snus products are banned, will NRT products be banned too?
09:39 August 31, 2011 by BelindaC
This is unilateral change to conditions of employment and should be resisted by trade unions.
23:55 September 6, 2011 by VocalEK
Why does Lisa Flinth believe that workers who want to concentrate, pay attention, remember things, and avoid making mistakes are setting a bad example? Doesn't she know that most people use nicotine for these beneficial effects? Or did she get taken in by the "it's addictive" message and immediately jump to the incorrect conclusion that nicotine impairs the user?

People who are consciencious workers employ nicotine to remain productive. Does Ms. Flinth also object to workers using chemicals other than nicotine, such as beverages that contain caffeine, or medications to treat attention deficits or mood disorders to remain productive?

For those who work around others, snus is a perfect vehicle for providing nicotine. It does not endanger others (no smoke, no spit) and does not endanger the health of the user. Smokers who switch to snus live just as long as and have no greater rates of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, or lung disease as smokers who stopped all tobacco use. Snus is much more affordable than pharmaceutical nicotine products.
Today's headlines
'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available