Breathing Space - protecting staff, service users and their families from secondhand smoke

Breathing Space will give you the knowhow and tools to protect your staff, clients and their family from exposure to second-hand smoke in the home, encourage smokers to quit smoking and seek help from local stop smoking services.

We can help your organisation develop and disseminate policy; ensure staff are confident and competent to deliver the brief intervention; produce public-facing materials and set up reporting systems.

How Breathing Space was developed

The Health Equalities Group has developed the Breathing Space – YourHome - Our Workplace award to support organisations in the development of policies and practices to protect staff in the community from exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, other combustable tobacco products and the secondhand vapour from electronic cigarettes.

The main purpose of Breathing Space is to protect staff in the community from exposure to secondhand smoke in the home environment. Breathing Space also aims to protect clients and their family and friends from secondhand smoke and to promote local stop smoking services.BS client coverEach client who follows the guidance is given a 'Thank You' card, with further guidance around smoking cessation.

Health Equalities Group will support organisations by offering help and advice; providing a client-facing information leaflet and publicising the Breathing Space intervention.

Breathing Space will be awarded to organisations that can demonstrate their commitment to best practice standards to minimise the effect of secondhand smoke for their community staff and the clients they serve.

What is secondhand smoke?

Whenever someone lights up a cigarette, secondhand smoke is produced. It includes smoke exhaled by the smoker and smoke created by the burning end of the cigarette.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,500 chemicals, many of which are irritants and toxins and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

More than 80% of secondhand smoke is invisible and odourless. Smoke can spread throughout the home, even if windows are opened. Opening windows and doors does not remove its harmful effect.


The Breathing Space Guidance Document includes essential information to ensure that staff are protected from the effects of secondhand smoke when visiting clients or customers in their home. Guidance is provided to managers about the steps that need to be taken to acquire and maintain the Breathing Space award and to staff who have face-to-face contact with clients in their own homes.

To apply for the Breathing Space award, organisations should complete a straightforward application form and provide evidence in the form of policy documents; letter for clients; information leaflets and training and communication initiatives to support their application.

The Breathing Space award replaces the Mersey and Cheshire Charters, which were launched in 2009. Over 200 organisations across the region were awarded the original Charter.

Download Breathing Space guidance PDF

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