3 Ways to Help Employees Quit Smoking
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday March 19, 2019Updated : Monday June 29, 2020
Although rates of cigarette smoking are declining, the habit is still fairly prevalent in Canadian workplaces. There is no one reason why it’s still prevalent, but the fact is: 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 is a supportive environment. Support can come from employers through education, information, and programs to help them kick the habit.
Here are three ways to help employees quit:
#1. Smoking Cessation program
As hard as it can be, quitting is possible. Employers can provide much-needed support and assistance through a Smoking Cessation Program.
Smoking Cessation Programs 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.
#2. Use your Workplace Wellness Program
Consider using your workplace wellness program to drive awareness, hold contests, and run special events to help employees quit:
- Hold events in conjunction with national days. National Non-Smoking Week (third week in January), or Canada’s Healthy Workplace week (last week in October) are perfect opportunities to promote quitting.
- Many workplace wellness programs bring in guest speakers from time to time to talk about health and wellness. Consider bringing in a guest speaker to host a lunch-and-learn session on quitting.
- If your workplace does not have a smoking cessation program, consider adding in a spending account to reimburse employees for costs associated with quitting.
Every workplace is different, so tailor the program to fit the needs of your workplace.
#3. Educate Employees
Increased promotional efforts about the negative effects of smoking result in an increase in quitting intentions.
Provide employees with information to help them quit. Information can be from a variety of sources, including government websites and health care providers.
Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of preventable disease worldwide. It is proven to increase the risk of major illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Quitting can immediately improve a person’s health. In as little as 24 hours of quitting, the individual will reduce their chance of heart attack, lower blood pressure, as well as increase blood-oxygen levels. After only a year of non-smoking, the risk of developing heart disease is cut in half.
Providing resources and supporting employees in their journeys to quit smoking, employers can build a healthier workforce and a better workplace.