The government yesterday launched draft regulations on smoke-free premises and vehicles, including workplaces, which will be introduced next summer.
The legislation will see virtually all workplaces in England become smoke-free areas when it is introduced.
A consultation was launched in order to seek views on details of the legislation such as signage requirements for premises, and was welcomed by the TUC.
"While we may not agree on all the points of detail, the draft regulations provide an excellent working framework for ensuring that all workplaces become smoke-free, with maximum compliance and the minimum of difficulty," said general secretary, Brendan Barber.
However, the union urged employers whose workplaces are not yet smoke free not to wait until next summer to ban smoking.
Employers should be working with staff over coming months to ensure that a smoke-free environment is introduced gradually, it said.