When you receive a referral of a family from the Home Office, the Resettlement Registration Form you receive may indicate that a member or members of the family are smokers, or you may discover that they smoke after arrival. Whilst it’s their choice whether they smoke or not, you will need to make the smoker aware of certain expectations and realities of smoking in the UK.
We recommend that you:
- Ensure the smoker knows whether they can smoke in their property or not. Most tenancy agreements have a clause where smoking is not permitted inside. Explain what would happen if they do smoke inside, and expectations around where they can smoke and how they should dispose of cigarette ends. If you know the tenancy will not allow smoking in the property, you might choose to include this in your factsheet for the family.
- Be ready to explain the smoking ban in the UK. At present, most families arrive from Middle Eastern countries where you can smoke everywhere, from taxis to restaurants. The guidance produced when the smoking ban was introduced in the UK in 2007 will help you to explain what is permitted. This is available in a variety of languages here.
- When the family have arrived and are settling in, explain the cost of smoking in the UK – it’s highly likely this will come as a real shock to the smoker. As of July 2021, the cost of 20 cigarettes in the UK is five times as much as in Jordan, three times as much as in Lebanon, ten times as much as in Turkey and 24 times as much as they cost in Syria.
- Smoking is considered a ‘luxury’ in the UK, and for whose who live on benefits initially, this may simply be too high a cost to pay. Some Groups have decided to have a boundary in place where they will not provide money to any adult in the family to purchase cigarettes.
- Smoking cessation support is available across the UK. Initially, you may need to support a family member to access these services through the provision of an interpreter. Visit the NHS website to find out more about the services in your area. Encourage the family member to ask their GP for help and support too.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for deciding whether someone should or shouldn’t smoke, however, you can signpost them to services and information in your local area.