Making a Business Case for Smoke-Free Workplaces
A smoke-free workplace policy makes good business sense! Smoking in the workplace costs money. Due to costs associated with increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, increased life insurance premiums and smoking area costs, businesses can spend up to $2,565 annually (in 1995 dollars) for each employee who smokes.
Other factors that contribute to smokers costing employers more than non-smokers are; lost time injury/illness, fires, property damage, and increased cleaning costs due to smoke pollution.
Eliminating smoking in a workplace can save money, not only for the employer but for individuals and society also. Individual costs in time, health, and money arise because smokers tend to have more hospital admissions, take longer to recover from illness and injury, have higher outpatient health care costs and have lower birth weight babies. Indirect costs to society include, more visits to the Doctor, spent health care dollars, lost productivity from increased absenteeism and productive years of lives lost.
There are five key reasons for implementing smoking restrictions in the workplace:
- Better health: A smoke-free policy promotes, protects, and improves the health of employees & society.
- Better business: A smoke-free policy can save money in reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, lower health and disability costs, and lower maintenance costs.
- Complying with legislation: A smoke-free policy promotes compliance with the provincial Smoke-Free Ontario legislation and the municipal bylaws in Grey Bruce to control smoking in workplaces.
- Employee satisfaction: Surveys indicate that 88% of smokers and 95% of non-smokers believe that non-smokers should be able to work in a smoke-free environment.
- Avoiding litigation: All employers have a duty to provide a safe and healthy workplace under provincial and federal laws. Employers who provide a smoke-free workplace protect themselves from liability charges related to tobacco smoke exposure.
(Health Canada, Towards a Healthier Workplace, 2003)
“Companies that demonstrate concern for the health and well-being of their workforce are more likely to be able to recruit and retain high quality employees” (Making Your Workplace Smokefree, CDC).
Health Canada (2003). Towards a Healthier Workplace: A Guidebook on Tobacco Control Policies.
Making Your Workplace Smokefree: A Decision Maker’s Guide
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Found online September, 2005).