Our employees, through their trade union, have formally lodged a claim for a smoking room within the office premises. They claim that the employer is obliged to set aside a smoking room for employees who smoke. We would like to hear from you if an employer has an obligation to set aside a room just for smoking.
Section 13 of the Tobacco Products (Regulation) Act, 2003 and regulation 6 of the Tobacco Products Regulations, 2014 imposes an obligation on the owners or occupiers of office buildings to set aside rooms for smoking. The smoking room should be equipped with a ventilation system which allows smoke to evacuate outside the building and not to recirculate in any other area. The smoking room should not exceed 25% of the total floor area; has to be separated from the rest of the office area by a solid partition; and should have an entrance door with the following words written on it, “SMOKING AREA” and “SEHEMU YA KUVUTIA TUMBAKU”. The height of the smoking room should not be less than 3 meters from the floor level to the lowest part of the ceiling. It should also have fire-fighting equipment.
In addition to setting aside a smoking room, an owner or occupier of a public building has the duty to install in the building, a tobacco product smoke detector gadget and place a warning at the entrance of the building stating that “THIS BUILDING IS INSTALLED WITH A SMOKE DETECTOR and “JENGO HILI LIMEFUNGWA MTAMBO WA KUBAINI MOSHI WA SIGARA.”
Based on the legal analysis we have given, and unfortunate for you, the employees have a right to demand a smoking room within the office building.