Monday, March 9, 2015

Workplace Tobacco Policies


Across the world toady, tobacco use is the cause of nearly 5 million deaths per year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, cigarette smoking is among the lead in preventable cause of death in the United States, being held responsible for an estimated 438,000 deaths per year, or roughly one out of every five deaths. Tobacco use can also lead to a long list of complicated diseases, including: cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, multiple cancers, emphysema, and bronchitis. Second-hand smoke is also responsible for numerous pediatric illnesses.

In addition to the negative side effects of tobacco use, the estimated costs of smoking-related medical expenses and loss of productivity are well over $167 billion annually (CDC). Employers experience a significant share in this overall cost as well. A recent analysis performed by Tobacco Control found that employees who smoke cost an employer $5,816 more than a non-smoking employee. They further state this is due to increased absenteeism, loss of productivity related to nicotine addiction, smoke breaks, and extra health care costs.

This is where implementing a tobacco-free workplace policy comes into play. There exists a long list of benefits that can be associated to a tobacco-free workplace.  The Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition (CDTFC) lists the benefits in their article titled, “Good Health is Good Business,” as:
  • Protects employees, visitors and clients from harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Lowers absenteeism due to smoking-related illnesses. People who smoke, on average, miss 6.2 days of work per year due to sickness compared to nonsmokers, who miss 3.9 days of work per year.
  • Increases worker productivity. Lost production time estimates for workers who report smoking or at least one pack of cigarettes per day were 75% higher than for nonsmoking employees or for employees who had previously quit.
  • May reduce direct healthcare costs. Employees exposed to secondhand smoke on the job are 12% to 19% more likely to get lung cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart attack by 25% to 35%.
They also list extra benefits to tobacco free workplace policies such as reducing the risk of fires, reducing maintenance costs by eliminating litter, increase the number of smokers who are motivated to quit and promotes consistency and equity in how smoking and non-smoking employees are treated.

If you are interested in making your workplace tobacco-free, or are just simply interested in learning more about workplace tobacco policies, please contact the CDTFC at 518-459-2388 or at Together, they will help your business reach your tobacco-free policy goals by providing sample policies, sample employee outreach materials, FAQs, and so much more. By implementing workplace tobacco policies, you can put thousands of dollars back into your business and improve the lives of your employees.

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Kolton Larson
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company