Discouraging smoking is in the interests of employers

April 26, 2016   //   No Comments

no-smoking-145888_1280Despite the risk of significant health damage and potential death (around half of regular smokers will eventually die due to smoking, according to Ash, November 2015), approximately one sixth of the adult population of the UK smokes (22% of men and 17% of women).  From the perspective of employers, there are significant gains to be made from encouraging staff to give up smoking. A report by the Faculty of Public Health and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine stated that “an estimated 34 million days a year are lost in England and Wales through sickness absence resulting from smoking-related illness”. Further reductions in productivity stem from smokers taking regular smoking breaks at work.

Employees are an organisation’s main asset so keeping them healthy should be considered a priority. Employers are not obliged to help employees stop smoking, but could consider taking some of the following steps to encourage smoking cessation in the workplace:

  • Implementing a smoke-free workplace policy.
  • Considering where staff smoke outside the building to discourage ‘smoky’ or littered entrance areas.
  • Signposting smokers to smoking cessation sessions/support.
  • Ensuring that a clear policy is in place concerning smoking breaks for staff, which is fair to non-smoking staff. This might include ensuring that smokers deduct the time taken for agreed smoke breaks from their lunch break.

Read more on the government’s Fit For Work website.