Cigarette smoking poses risks to the smoker’s health and those around them, as well as the environment, through air pollution and the littering of cigarette butts. It’s no surprise that many places today have made it much more difficult to smoke cigarettes. However, one of the hotspots for cigarette smokers is at one’s workplace. While some states have adopted a smoke-free policy, many other workplaces in the US still allow smoking. This is especially harmful as people have higher exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace since that is where they spend most of the day. As such, companies should strive to create a sustainable smoke-free workplace.
Aside from the health benefits of going smoke-free, there are business and productivity benefits to supporting such policies at work, including lower cleaning or maintenance expenses and a healthier, safer work environment for your employees. Of course, quitting is a process and may be more difficult for some than it is for others. Today, we’ll look at four ways employers can help their employees quit smoking:
Encourage and offer smoking cessation tools
While most companies have strong smoking policies in place, the TruthInitiative.org is encouraging companies to include a cessation benefit. Alongside offering support, this can include resources offered by the company, and one such resource could be encouraging and even offering smoking cessation tools.
Firstly, employers must understand the role that smoking cessation tools play in helping smokers quit. Quitting cigarettes cold turkey can be difficult for long-time smokers and, for some, may lead to withdrawal symptoms that cause them to use cigarettes again. On the other hand, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as Nicorette gum, help smokers remain abstinent and avoid the usual toxins contained in traditional cigarettes.
Over the years, other forms of NRT products, such as gummies, lozenges, and pouches, have emerged in the market. These are perfect for the workplace as they can be used indoors and won’t affect fellow co-workers. Of the different products, nicotine pouches are some of the most discreet. The nicotine pouches on Prilla.com are 100% tobacco-free and don’t produce smoke or odor. This allows employees to receive their nicotine fix without the usual smoke breaks, positively impacting their productivity in the workplace. Companies should make it clear what smoking cessation tools are allowed and either offer these tools or point employees to places they can get them.
Offer a health plan with tobacco cessation benefits
In line with offering NRT products to employees, employers can also invest in health plans that cover tobacco cessation. This may differ depending on the state, but healthcare programs such as Medicaid and state-offered health programs may cover medications, counseling, and NRT products to support tobacco cessation. Aside from
state-covered programs, some private health insurance providers may offer cessation treatment coverage.
Depending on your business location, it’s best to inquire with your preferred health insurance providers to check if their plans include any smoking cessation program. Some of these health plans may also extend to family coverage, so inquire accordingly. This shows your employees that you care about maintaining a smoke- free workplace, as well as their and their family’s well-being.
Lead by example
This is especially important if you are a smoker as well. Employees are more likely to feel encouraged and motivated to quit if they see a fellow smoker attempting a quitting journey alongside them. Leading by example is age-old leadership advice that applies to any business and industry. The best leaders know how to identify their
drawbacks and are open to learning from them, instilling into others the things they learn from their own journeys.
An employee trying to quit will be more motivated to stick to their abstinence when they see that you are doing the same, and are more likely to be tempted into smoking again if they see you going on smoking breaks. Quitting doesn’t have to be a lonesome journey; taking it with your employees is a great act of solidarity and support.
Lastly, remember to celebrate the wins and milestones. Quitting cigarettes can be an ongoing journey for most, and taking the time to celebrate along the way can do wonders to motivate them along their progress. In a previous post on Workplace Wellness Challenges in 2023, we highlight celebrating successes as an essential aspect of establishing workplace wellness programs. Whether small or big, celebrating wins fosters an environment of support and camaraderie that will help push your employees forward in their progress away from cigarettes and smoking.