Protection Against Passive Smoking

Employees must be protected from passive smoking. What precautions do employers and companies need to take to ensure they are protected?

Protection of employees against the discomfort and harm caused by passive smoking

The federal law and the regulation on the protection against passive smoking have been valid in Switzerland since the 1st of May 2010. The law applies to enclosed spaces that are open to the public or are the place of work to more than one person. There are exceptions for special facilities. Furthermore, cantons may adopt stricter provisions in order to protect people's health.

What applies in businesses with employees?

  • Smoking is permitted at individual workstations (e.g. individual offices) provided that the rules of the business allow this.
  • Smoking is not allowed at individual workplaces with mixed uses (e.g. single office with a conference area)
  • Smoking is not permitted at workplaces where two or more persons are permanently or temporarily present, even if these employees are smokers.
  • Smoking is not permitted in break and recreation rooms. But an additional break room can be provided for smokers. If the business only has one break room, this must be smoke-free in principle.
  • It is advisable to set defined locations where smoking is allowed in the buildings or on the company premises.
  • In establishments that focus on hospitality, the provisions of the Hospitality Act apply. Employees are not allowed to be actively engaged in serving in smoking rooms (known as fumoirs).
  • So-called smoking establishments (pubs under 80 m² where it is permitted to smoke) are not permitted in the Canton of Basel-Stadt.

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