For any major venue to flourish with health and safety, promoting the right culture is essential.
E-cigarettes are a big talking point in the media at the moment. More and more people are using them to try and kick the habit. Those for e-cigarettes claim they help to reduce smoking and should be encouraged in any businesses, while those against point towards a lack of evidence regarding passive smoking risks and the fact that while you may be reducing tobacco intake, the habit remains.
At Manchester Central we have taken the decision to ban e-cigarettes alongside, of course, all other forms of smoking, with signage across the venue being changed to reflect this. Smoking has always been a contentious issue, and as an ex-smoker myself I understand the issues surrounding it, and both sides of the argument when it comes to e-cigarettes.
But, simply put, in my view allowing e-cigarettes in our venue would give the wrong impression to the 500,000 visitors we welcome on an annual basis.
At a glance it can be difficult for people to distinguish between cigarettes and e-cigarettes – the impression is the same. Enforcing a cigarette ban while allowing its vapour equivalent comes with its own challenges, and that’s even before you get into the complicated debate about the possible impact on health.
We strive for a strong and proactive health and safety culture and I believe that smoking of any form goes against this.
Manchester Central is making real headway in helping to set health and safety standards across the events industry. Our event space safety policies are excellent, a healthy work-life balance is prioritised, fruit desk drops are common place and discounted gym membership is taken advantage of. I want us to continue this excellent health and safety progress, and not let the cigarette, whatever form it takes, back into the building.