Business owners repeatedly breaking the law by allowing smoking on their premises have been fined a total of £41,000 since the start of an operation which began in 2013 by Sheffield City Council Health and Safety Enforcement team.
The Health and Safety Enforcement Team spearheads a multi-agency taskforce which has been working to tackle illegally operating businesses in Sheffield. The team targets repeat offenders, resulting in seven prosecutions and more than £13,000 of fines in 2018 alone.
The team tackling the illegally-operating businesses also includes the Sheffield Safeguarding Children’s Board, South Yorkshire Police and Immigration Enforcement. They focus not only on smoking indoors but also unsafe premises, and the sale of tobacco to under-18s.
Smoking in pubs, cafes and restaurants is a crime and owners of the premises are liable to be fined if they permit smoking on their premises. The council is focusing on businesses that encourage smoking on their premises – with Shisha cafes being the worst offenders.
For businesses which repeatedly receive fines and continue to operate illegally, the council seeks to take stern action. A recent case involving Dubai Café on London Road saw their license revoked after receiving three fines for permitting smoking, illegally connecting an electricity supply and the usage of unsafe gas appliances that resulted in business operators being prosecuted under Health and Safety law.
Lewis Dagnall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene, said: “This Council takes its responsibilities towards the public health of the people of Sheffield extremely seriously. Shisha venues, as with all venues, must be smoke-free.
“By working with several agencies, we have seen significant success in closing 20 premises which were operating illegally and securing £41,000 of fines.
“It’s important that businesses recognise and fulfil their responsibility to prevent people suffering from passive smoking, and we will continue to take appropriate action to ensure that people are protected.”
The harmful effects of Shisha smoke are generally less well known than cigarettes and tobacco which often means the problem of smoking it indoors goes unreported.
Shisha is a tobacco mix smoked through a specific pipe that draws the smoke through water. While the water cools the smoke, it still contains nicotine, tar and arsenic – making it addictive and damaging to health. An hour of smoking shisha is the equivalent of smoking 100 cigarettes according to research from the World Health Organisation.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health, said: “Allowing any kind of smoking indoors puts customers and staff at risk from the dangers of inhaling the 4000 toxic chemicals in second-hand smoke, which has been proven beyond doubt to cause serious harm to health. Shisha smoking should not be seen any differently and anyone who sees indoor smoking of any kind happening in a public place should report it, to protect themselves and others.”