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Smoking Support in the Workplace

Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and pancreas. Smoking also increases the risk of developing diseases of the urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract.

Smoking causes one in four of all cancer deaths in New Zealand. Lung cancer, caused by smoking, is now the leading cause of death for women in developed countries.The best thing you can do for the health of those who smoke is to advise them to become smokefree and provide them with support to help them quit. This web page provides you with information to support people to become smokefree.

From 10 December 2004 all indoor workplaces in New Zealand became 100% smokefree including offices, warehouses, factories, 'smoko' rooms, taxis, internal areas of trains and ships, prisons and travel premises such as terminals and passenger lounges.

While having a smokefree workplace is a legal requirement, there are many benefits to both employer and employee. These include:

  • healthier workers and fewer sick days (staff who smoke take around three times as many sick days as non-smokers)
  • fewer breaks and greater productivity (in the course of a year a smoker taking four 10 minute breaks each day works a month less than a non-smoker)
  • people who are bothered by smoke are not exposed to it at work
  • it might make it easier for smokers to successfully quit
  • reduced cleaning and maintenance costs (office equipment, carpets and furniture last longer)

 

Below are some suggestions of activities that you could do in your workplace:

 1. Develop a smokefree policy:

  • use a best practice smokefree policy for guidance (see resources)
  • use advice for workplaces going smokefree (see resources)

 2. Offer support to help staff who want to give up smoking:

  • identify local smoking cessation services
  • make information about the types of help readily available to all staff
  • ask a local smoking cessation service to offer help on premises
  • allow staff to attend smoking cessation services during work hours without loss of pay
  • provide subsidised nicotine replacement therapy
  • encourage peer support groups for staff members giving up smoking

3. Promote benefits of a smokefree lifestyle:

  • promote World Smokefree day on 31st May
  • promote smokefree homes and cars
  • provide information on stopping smoking support

 For more information have a look at our smokefree resources or website links.

 Sources:
Health Promotion Agency, Smokefree Aotearoa 2025: Your Work, 2015