3 Reasons to Help Employees Quit Smoking (And How to Get it Done)

Published: Mar 19 | 2019
Modified: May 21 | 2019

Although rates of cigarette smoking are declining, the habit is still fairly prevalent in Canadian workplaces. This can’t be traced back to any one reason, but here’s what we think is one of the biggest: Quitting smoking is hard.

Research indicates that most smokers make multiple attempts to quit before successfully becoming a non-smoker. One constant that appears to make a significant difference between success and failure to quit smoking is a supportive environment. That support can come from family and friends, but it can also come from employers through education, information, and programs to help them kick the habit.

Here are 3 reasons to help employees quit smoking:

#1. Employees will be healthier

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease worldwide and is proven to increase the risk of major illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Smoking also has a myriad of other adverse effects on overall health, all of which can lead to later health complications.

Quitting smoking can immediately improve a person’s health. In as little as 24 hours of quitting, employee’s will have reduced chance of heart attack and lower blood pressure, as well as increases in blood-oxygen levels. After only a year of non-smoking, the risk of developing heart disease is cut in half.

#2. Reduced Costs for Everybody

Encouraging and supporting employees in their journey to quit smoking is a financial win-win for everyone!


Reports indicate that smokers cost their employers more than $4,000 a year in loss of productivity and increased absenteeism – each. With more non-smokers in the workplace, employers could see less sick days and unscheduled smoke breaks, as well as a reduced impact on their benefits plan due to a lower likelihood of health-related claims.


Non-smokers will pay lower rates for specific health benefits than smokers do and of course, they’ll save money by not purchasing cigarettes, which are steadily rising in price.

#3. Creates a Better Workplace

Employers that care about the health and well-being of their employees have a positive image among the workplace and larger community. A better corporate image can attract and retain top talent and increase job satisfaction amongst current employees. Not to mention the added benefits in terms of productivity and reduced absenteeism discussed above!

Help Employees Quit Smoking With a Smoking Cessation Program

As hard as it can be, quitting smoking is possible, and employers are well positioned to provide much-needed support and assistance through a Smoking Cessation Program.

Smoking Cessation Programs are put in place within a workplace to help employees kick the habit and transition into a non-smoker, at their own pace. These programs often include coverage for smoking cessation products, like nicotine patches, or professional advice, counselling, and education materials.

The programs can come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, using our Standalone® product’s Health Care Spending Account (HCSA), we recently created a customized Smoking Cessation Program for a group with over 2,000 employees!

In providing resources and supporting employees in their journeys to quit smoking, employers can build a healthier workforce and a better workplace.

Learn more about our Smoking Cessation Program available through Green Shield Canada!