This information does not cover the legal requirements for smoke-free workplaces, but the health benefits of giving up smoking.
Health risks of smoking
Smoking damages many of your body’s organs and systems. It can:
- damage your lungs, affecting your breathing and leading to diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- raise your blood pressure and heart rate; and affect your circulation
- increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, many cancers (not just lung cancer), type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis
- reduce bone density and increase your risk of osteoporosis
- affect fertility in men and women and cause impotence in men.
Benefits of going smoke-free
Smokers are more likely to be absent from work than non-smokers, so supporting your workers to quit can benefit their personal health and your business.
You can encourage workers to quite smoking and support those who wish to stop with options such as:
- ordering a free Quit pack for these workers (see Resources below)
- providing information and resources about how to quit, understanding triggers, controlling stress and weight gain, and the health benefits quitting will bring
- fostering an on-site support group for these workers
- identifying and promoting a champion who can support workers as they give up smoking. Ideally this would be someone who has successfully given up smoking — or is currently giving up — and is enthusiastic about helping others
- offering time off to see their doctor, a counsellor or an off-site quit smoking group.
- celebrate World Tobacco Day (31 May) with posters, resources, and information sessions
- if you have a designated smoking area, make it as far away from the main work area as possible. This reduces exposure to environmental tobacco smoke for non-smokers, and also encourages smokers to walk further – which may discourage then from smoking or at least reducing their smoking while at work.