Today is National No Smoking Day. The number of smokers is at a record low since the smoke free laws were introduced just over ten years ago. However, it's still a familiar sight to see groups of employees gathering outside for cigarette breaks.
One occupational health director previously wrote that smoking cessation programmes in the workplace have been around for a long time, and twenty or so years ago these programmes involved simple techniques such as offering counselling for groups or individuals and the promotion of nicotine patches and gum - which were both easy wins for employers. Since then progress and enthusiasm has slowed, however the cost of smoking to businesses is now widely recognised and clearly the legal position with smoking bans across Europe is having an effect.
Therefore, based on the number of hours people are at work, offering smoking cessation support to employees can have advantages for both the employer and those wanting to quit.
A good starting point is to consult with employees (which falls under the requirements of health and safety legislation). Get their views and opinions and as well as reviewing your existing arrangements, (which will ensure you are meeting the smoke free laws) such as your workplace smoking policy (and the use of e-cigarettes), a review of existing external smoking areas, methods of cigarette disposal, displaying no smoking signage, and providing smoke free company vehicles; consider implementing programmes which offer smoking cessation support such as:
Advice and information on quitting from health professionals/NHS
Information on self-help support including details of local programmes/initiatives
Nicotine replacement therapy support
Promoting National No Smoking Day/Stoptober