The Keys to Successful Tobacco-Free Policy Implementation
- Focus on smoke, not the smoker.
- Focus on health and safety regarding tobacco, not individual rights.
- Obtain management commitment and support for the tobacco-free policy. This support can be made visible to employees through the use of paycheck stuffers, posters, newsletters and other company communication channels.
- Provide training for middle managers and supervisors on policy communication and enforcement.
- Provide real and visible opportunities for employee participation in policy planning and implementation.
- Educate the workplace community about the hazards of combining secondhand smoke and materials used in work processes.
- Allow four to six months from the time of the announcement to implementation, depending on the size of the organization and the magnitude of the change from the old to the new policy.
- To maximize motivation, plan to implement the policy in conjunction with national events such as the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout in November or around New Year’s Day (when people are making New Year’s resolutions).
- Ensure that restrictions and enforcement are equitable across job categories.
- Offer smoking cessation programs to all employees and their families before and after the policy change.
- Enforce the tobacco policy just as any other policy would be. Provide training in enforcement for supervisors. Do not differentiate between smoking breaks and any other kind of breaks.
- Anticipate unintended effects (e.g., the concentration of smoke in designated areas).
- Continue to provide smoking cessation educational opportunities and programs after the policy has been implemented to support employees in their attempts to quit smoking and to prevent relapse.
Items that the company’s tobacco-free policy should include:
- Purpose for policy (harmful effects of secondhand smoke on health)
- A tie between the tobacco policy and cessation support and the recognizable corporate values (e.g., performance of employees as an asset)
- Clear statement of where tobacco use is prohibited
- Clear statement of where tobacco use is permitted (if anywhere)
- Clear statement on enforcement and consequences of noncompliance
- Clear statement of support to be provided for employees who smoke (e.g., cessation assistance)
- Name and phone number of person who can answer questions about the policy
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