The use of tobacco products at workplaces is dangerous to the health of the tobacco user and other employees. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths in users and non-users. Employers are encouraged to adopt tobacco-free worksite policies to promote and protect the health of the employees in the organization and help tobacco users quit the habit. A comprehensive tobacco-free policy at the workplace promotes quitting in tobacco users and eliminates exposure to secondhand smoke in non-users. Secondhand smoke is a mixture of smoke exhaled by smokers and the smoke from the burning end of combustible tobacco product. There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke exposure.
Reasons for Tobacco-Free Workplaces
- Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Reduce the cost associated with cleaning and maintenance of the property.
- Reduce the risk of fire incident.
- Reduce costs associated with smoke damage.
- Increase productivity in the employees by reducing time off due to tobacco-related or tobacco worsening illnesses.
- Reduce the healthcare cost that is associated with tobacco related illnesses and diseases.
- Improve the quality of life and health of the employees.
- Increase revenue for businesses.
Action Steps to Implementing and Enforcing a Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy
- Organizations are encouraged to develop a workgroup or task force to oversee the tobacco-free policy implementation and enforcement plan.
- Provide resources to educate the task force, employees, visitors and vendors.
- Survey the employees to assess their level of knowledge and attitude towards tobacco-free policy.
- Create a communication plan.
- Develop a tobacco-free policy that is concise, clear, simple and comprehensive.
- Develop an enforcement plan that is consistent with other personnel policies and disciplinary procedures.
- Announce the policy several months prior to the implementation date.
- Finally, organizations are encouraged to provide cessation services for the employees and patients to promote quitting among them.