By: Bree Leyer, M.S., EP-C
As I’m sure you’ve heard before, tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death today. I bet you have also heard about the health and financial benefits that can occur once you quit smoking (as an individual). What you might not know is how a tobacco-free workplace can save your company, and your employees, time and money. How might this happen? Let’s look at some major impacts as to what happens when you do not have a tobacco-free policy at your workplace…
- Lower Productivity Levels (and Higher Absenteeism Rates)
- Employees who take four smoking breaks per day actually work one month less per year as compared to those who do not. They also tend to take longer breaks than nonsmokers.
- Higher Worker’s Compensation Payments
- A study in 2001 found that businesses pay an average of $2,189 in worker’s compensation claims for smokers and only $176 for nonsmokers.
- Higher Health and Life Insurance Costs and Claims
- Employees who smoke can face insurance premium surcharges up to 50% more than nonsmokers.
- Employees who smoke may have healthcare costs as high as 40% more than those who do not smoke.2
- Higher Risk of Accidents, Fires, and Property Damage
Hopefully some of these statistics caught your attention, but what can you do to help your employees and your company? We offer two suggestions:
- Create and implement a tobacco-free workplace policy
- Some options of policies include:
- Smoke-free campus (No smoking inside or outside of the building)
- No smoking inside of the building and designated smoking areas outside
- No smoking inside but unrestricted smoking outside
- Offer a Tobacco Cessation Program
- Check in with your healthcare company to see what programs they may offer
- Offer a premium discount on their health insurance for those who are tobacco-free
- Offer self-help materials, counseling options, telephonic consultation programs, and information on nicotine replacement therapy and medications to support your employees
- Offer additional incentives for becoming tobacco-free
Interested in learning more about how to successfully implement a tobacco-free workplace or a tobacco cessation program? We can help! Contact Bree Leyer at email@example.com for more information.
Tobacco Cessation Resources:
- gov (www.smokefree.gov)
- American Lung Association (1-800-LUNGUSA)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov/tobacco)
- American Heart Association (heart.org/quitsmoking)
- American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco; 1-800-ACS-2345)
- National Cancer Institute (1-877-44U-QUIT)
- National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines (1-800-QUIT-NOW)
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General.Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
 Action on Smoking and Health, March 1994.
 Musich, S.; Napier, D.: Edington, D.W.; “The Association of Health Risks With Workers’ Compensation Costs.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 43(6):534-541, June 2001.
 Hall, Jr., J.R., “The Smoking-Material Fire Problem,” National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, July 2013.
 Center for Health Promotion and Publications. The Dollar (and sense) Benefits of Having a Smoke-Free Workplace. Lansing, Michigan: Michigan Tobacco Control Program; 2000