Celebrate the “Great American Smokeout” by having your workplace go “Smoke-free”
With over 4000 hazardous chemical components in secondhand smoke, it isn’t a surprise that the World Health Organization (WHO) found that secondhand smoke exposure is a major cause of lung cancer, coronary heart disease and cardiac death among non-smokers. Furthermore, WHO found that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke and that ventilation systems and designated smoking rooms do not provide effective protection to the public and company workers. The International Labour Organization found that each year 200,000 workers die because of exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace.
In recent years, many companies have seen the health and financial benefits of becoming a smoke-free workplace. As healthcare costs soar and as insurance policies charge higher rates to cover smokers, there has been a great benefit to businesses to change their policies regarding tobacco. Numerous studies have found a decline in hospital admissions for heart attacks. Among restaurant workers, there is a documented 26% decrease in respiratory symptoms. When smoke free workplace policies are implemented, there has been a 4% decrease in the number of smokers and a significant decrease in smoking among individuals who continue to smoke, according to the British Medical Journal. This decrease not only benefits the individual health of the workers, but saves on overall healthcare costs among those that participate in the company insurance plan.
Some of the most prevalent criticisms of tobacco free policies are that they will impact the companies “bottom line”. In reality, studies have found the opposite. Studies have found that when companies embrace smoke free policies they experience an increase in employee productivity, reduced sickness and reduced injuries. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that if all US workplaces were smoke free, it would save $280 million in medical costs in the first 7 years.
On November 16, we recognized the “Great American Smokeout”. This year, make a bold move and ensure that your work site is tobacco free. At Lebanon Family Health Services we are working with companies to implement tobacco free policies that include a research based tobacco cessation class for employees called Freedom From Smoking© and/or a “fax-to-quit” program. Services are free and are available at your work site. For more information, call Holly at 273-6741 ext. 310.