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Workplaces being urged to help a smoker butt out

We all know about the health consequences of tobacco use–but did you know that workplaces also suffer when they employ smokers?

Each smoker in the workplace costs their employer $3,396 per year in decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, increased insurance premiums, and additional expenses to maintain outdoor smoking areas.

It’s no surprise that smoking cessation initiatives offered through the workplace have shown to provide a significant return on investment to the employer in terms of health, social, and economic gains.

Want your workplace to support smoking cessation? Here’s how:

•Consider creating a policy that ensures your workplace is smoke-free; workplaces that allow smoking—even in designated areas—send a mixed message.

A completely smoke-free environment helps employees cut down or quit smoking, and protects everyone from second-hand smoke.

•The Smokers’ Helpline is a great place to refer smokers to.

The service has proven tips and tools to help people quit successfully using free, personalized, and non-judgmental support, advice, and information.

People can connect by telephone, online, and via text messaging.

Check it out at

•Providing self-help resources to your staff also can help people who want to quit smoking.

Put hard copies in staff and lunch rooms for your staff to read.

•Holding contests and special events, including linking with those taking place in the community (such as the annual “Driven to Quit Challenge”), is another way to get people interested and involved.

Ideas can include things like health fairs, lunch-and-learn sessions with guest speakers, quit-and-win contests, smoke-free homes and cars challenges, and reimbursing employees for program costs for quitting smoking.

•Host a Brief Intervention Cessation Counselling (BICC) workshop for your employees.

Facilitated by a trained specialist from the Northwestern Health Unit, it is available to workplaces free of charge!

Participants learn the skills required to discuss smoking cessation effectively with a smoker.

It only takes a few minutes to help a smoker, whether they are in the workplace as a client or a co-worker. A brief intervention by a caring person significantly can improve the chance that a smoker will make a successful quit attempt.

Call the Northwestern Health Unit’s tobacco information line at 1-888-404-4231 for more information or to book a workshop.

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