Did you know that cigarette smoking causes about 20 percent of the deaths in the United States? And those people aren’t all smokers: secondhand smoke can result in death, too. Life expectancy for smokers is a decade less than for nonsmokers.
In fact, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
And the problem is even greater among workers in certain trades. Among building trades workers, for instance, smoking cigarettes occurs nearly 60% more often than in the general population—and their tobacco use is nearly double that of whitecollar workers.
There are plenty of good reasons for an employer to develop a workplace smoking policy—and here are a few more:
- The company’s direct healthcare costs may be reduced.
- The company could get lower rates on health, life, and disability insurance as the number of employees who smoke is lowered.
- Employees may miss fewer days of work due to tobacco-related illness.
Though there is no federal law governing smoking or tobacco use in the workplace, many state and local governments require businesses in their jurisdiction to be smoke-free. Your first step when developing a workplace smoking policy is to determine which laws already govern tobacco use for your business. After that, it is not very complicated to create your own smoke-free policy.
A group of invested individuals from various arenas could prove helpful. For instance, you could ask for input from both smokers and non-smokers, from human resources, from your workers’ union, from administration, from maintenance and security, and from other facets of your work force.
You can find a sample policy here, which may prove useful when crafting your own. Remember to include consequences for violating the policy within the policy itself, so workers will clearly understand the ramifications if they do not follow it.
Once your policy has been finalized, be sure to post it where workers can easily see it. Also maintain a catalogue of copies, so you can provide one to any worker who requests it. A workplace smoking policy could really have a positive impact on your workers’ health—and the health of your organization.
For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of businesses that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With offices in California and Indiana, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.