Company smoking bans could help employees butt out
Added support measures can significantly increase smokers’ likelihood of
TORONTO, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ – Smoking bans on all company property both
indoors and outdoors should be a visible part of a comprehensive
non-smoking policy in Canadian workplaces, according to a new
Conference Board of Canada report. Additional measures, such as smoking
cessation programs, would also help employees to quit smoking.
Currently, 19 per cent of Canadian organizations responding to a
Conference Board of Canada survey ban smoking from their property
“Implementing workplace smoking bans and enforcing these restrictions
will help to reduce the likelihood of smoking and shift the
organizational culture,” said Karla Thorpe, Director, Leadership and
Human Resources Research, who is presenting the findings at the
Conference Board’s Workplace Wellness and Mental Health 2013 event today.
“Employers can also do more than setting restrictions – they can play a
key role in helping smokers to quit. Three-quarters of current smokers
are employed and many want to quit. The most effective methods to help
smokers quit are to couple access to medication with counseling and
support. This can increase success rates by two to three-fold.”
-- Only half of organizations surveyed conducted health risk assessments (HRA) to determine the health needs of their workers - including the number of smokers and whether they are hoping to quit. -- Complete smoking bans on company property are not widespread, and smoking on job sites (such as construction and landscaping) is still allowed among almost two-thirds of survey respondents. -- Only 40 per cent of employers cover nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as patches, gum, and/or lozenges. -- Few organizations track whether their smoking cessation programs are effective.
Smoking bans are a visible sign of an organization’s commitment to help
prevent employees from smoking, but there are other aspects to a
comprehensive smoking cessation program in Canadian workplaces. These
Conduct health risk assessments
About half of employers (49 per cent) conduct health risk assessments
(HRA) to gauge the risk factors, including smoking, among their
employee population. An HRA helps determine the prevalence of smoking
among the organization’s workforce organizations, and to what extent
employees are receptive to quitting.
Enhance coverage under group benefit plans
The majority of organizations (73 per cent) cover prescription smoking
cessation medications. But only 40 per cent cover nicotine replacement
therapies (NRT) such as patches, gum, and/or lozenges. Many employers
also impose yearly or lifetime maximum coverage limits on these
programs. Since it often takes more than one attempt to quit smoking,
plans should be reviewed to ensure coverage is sufficient to allow
employees more than one try per year.
Evaluate the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs
The majority of organizations (79 per cent) do not evaluate their
smoking cessation programs. As a result, employers lack knowledge about
whether smokers are participating and whether the programs are
effective at helping employees quit.
The publication, Smoking Cessation Programs in Canadian Workplaces, is the second of three briefings in the Conference Board’s series
Smoking Cessation and the Workplace. Funding was provided by the Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC) and Pfizer Canada. The survey is the first time that Canadian
employers have provided detailed information on workplace programs and
policies in place to help their employees quit smoking.
The findings are based on the responses of 129 organizations.
The first publication in the series, Profile of Tobacco Smokers in Canada, examined smoking in Canada with a focus on the employed population in
Launched in 2011, CASHC is a five-year Conference Board program of
research and dialogue. It will delve deeply into facets of Canada’s
health care challenge, including the financial, workplace, and
institutional dimensions, in an effort to develop forward-looking
qualitative and quantitative analysis and solutions to make the system
SOURCE Conference Board of Canada