The Great American Smoke Out is this week. The American Cancer Society leads this yearly event on the third Thursday of each November to encourage smokers across the country to make a plan to quit or to plan in advance to quit smoking on this day. Over 480,000 Americans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year. Research also shows that smokers cost their employers close to $6,000 per year more than non-smokers.
With this in mind, it behooves employers to help their employees quit smoking. Here are three Quality of Lifehacks to help.
- Establish a tobacco-free workplace environment. In addition to the health benefits of quitting, banning smoking at or around the workplace will provide another reason for smokers to quit. Tobacco-free workplaces can also lead to a safer, healthier environment for employees, which can improve employee engagement and performance. To that end, the American Lung Association provides a sample tobacco free workplace policy that employers can use as a model.
- Provide smoking cessation programs for employees. Anyone who has been addicted to nicotine can vouch for how hard it is to quit. As a result, people who are trying to quit smoking often require support. Leaning on family, friends, healthcare professionals, as well as their employers can help employees be more successful in their efforts. The American Cancer Society offers a group-based tobacco cessation support program called, FreshStart®, that provides employers with tools and resources to lead workplace quit smoking programs.
- Inspire your employees to quit smoking. Research shows that quit smoking ads can motivate people to quit. Employers can share these ads, as well as educational materials, directly with employees to help inspire them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a number of downloadable materials as part of their “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign that employers can share to encourage employees to quit smoking, such as displaying the print PSAs in a break room.
Here are some key stats to keep in mind if your company is deciding whether or not to offer a quit smoking program:
- Nearly 7 out of 10 smokers want to quit. This shows many people may be open to participating in a workplace quit smoking program.
- It can take a smoker up to 30 attempts before they can successfully quit. As a result, workplace quit smoking programs should be ongoing to be effective.
- There are more former smokers than current smokers. So it is possible to quit and many people have done so.
If you participated in a workplace quit smoking program, please share in the comments section below what you found to work well and/or what has not worked well.