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Employers Help Kick Smoking to the Curb

Aug 7th, 2009

smokingEveryone is aware of the health risks due to smoking, yet many people are still finding it hard to kick the habit. Tobacco, and second hand smoke, is both the leading cause and most preventable causes of death in the United States, putting a strain on our health care system.

Today, many small business owners are making note of the other host of problems occurring thanks to cigarette smoking in the workplace. Being self-employed, and having other employees working for you, can dramatically increase your costs, if you allow employees to smoke in the workplace. With the high costs of insurances, and other expenses, many self-employed people are seeking ways to reduce their operating expenses and long-term liabilities that affect their businesses, and have opted to discourage smoking, by encouraging quitting.

This method of kicking butts to the curb, doesn’t place added pressure on the company’s already straining budget by allowing the employer to order, at no charge, informational sheets, stop smoking guides, and brochures from government supported non-profits like the Cancer Society.

Another tactic adopted by some employees is free stop smoking counselling offered by non-profits, with information sheets added to pay packets.

Some employers are arranging for a guest speaker through the Lung Association, which is free, to address employees on their lunch hour or at other company paid functions.

And yet, other employers are offering cash bonuses, and company competitions, with winning cash prizes as incentives for their employees to butt out.

Plus, if you provide health insurance to your employees, a good incentive is always to give your non-smokers a discount on their monthly premiums, as everyone likes a little additional cash in their pay check.

If the methods listed above, are not having the desired affect some employers have offered nicotine-replacement drugs and therapy to their employees, all in an effort to reduce their cost of doing business and lost workplace time due to smoke breaks and illnesses.

In New York State, smoking is prohibited in the workplace (except for home-based businesses, company vehicles, and outside in the clean air, which is often on company property) and the employer is required to post a written policy about smoking.

But regardless of whether smoking is prohibited in the workplace or not, smoking affects everyone’s health and causes increases to our health insurance system due to smoking related illnesses, accidents, and the affects of second hand smoke, so be a great employer and encouraging your employees to butt out by offering incentives. They not only improve your employee’s health, but also reduce the cost of doing business, even if only by a little bit. Mostly, these incentives prove you care, and sometimes that is what is most important to your employees, especially if your business is small!

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