Tobacco-free workplaces protect all employees from the harms of secondhand smoke and can motivate persons who currently use tobacco to stop or decrease its use. Employers that take the steps to implement a tobacco-free policy can reduce the impacts to both employees and their business.
Research has identified some concerning facts regarding the effects of tobacco on the workplace. Besides ill health, cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. In fact, smoking-related illness in the U.S. costs more than $300 billion a year, including over $175 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity. The cost to employers, including increased outlay from smokers’ health care usage, amounts to approximately $6,000 more per smoking employee.
Another related issue is the increased vulnerability that tobacco smokers have of contracting Covid-19. While smoking damages the lungs, Covid-19 attacks the lungs affecting victim’s breathing capacity, among other serious impacts. Quitting smoking and vaping as soon as possible can dramatically improve lung health in a matter of months which could increase a person’s chance of surviving the infection.
While an employer may receive financial benefits from helping a worker quit their tobacco use, encouraging one or more persons to stop is a benefit to all employees. Likewise, implementing Tobacco-Free and Vape-Free Workplace Policies, alongside a Drug-Free Workplace, will provide employers the most comprehensive program to promote employee health and safety.
Federal Government Tobacco-Free Resources
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Smoking and Tobacco Use
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) – Find Help: ATOD
State Smoking Cessation Programs are available through most states’ Department of Health
- Kansas Smoke-Free
- Tennessee Tobacco Quit Line
- Tobacco Free Florida
- Smoking Cost Calculator
- Tobacco Free Worksites
- Quit Your Way Worksite Toolkit – Rural
- Quit Your Way Worksite Toolkit – Metro
- Tobacco Current Issues (including Secondhand Smoke, Youth & Vaping, e-Cigarettes, Little Cigars & Cigarillos, Menthol Cigarettes, Hookah, Smokeless Tobacco)
- American Cancer Society – The Great American Smokeout
- American Lung Association – Help Employees Stop Smoking
- Tobacco Cessation for the Worksite Webcast – information about membership & related Covid-19 information.
- American Heart Association – Vaping / Quit Smoking / Tobacco