Developing A Smoking Policy for Your Small Business

by / ⠀Startup Advice / February 29, 2024
Smoking Policy

Smoking continues to be a global problem that affects the health and wellness of millions of people. It is one of the leading causes of preventable diseases and death in the United States alone, with smoking-related health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer plaguing many smokers worldwide. Cigarette smoking can even shorten one’s lifespan by up to 12 years, according to the American Cancer Society.

With all the risks associated with smoking, it’s important to craft policies that limit or prohibit cigarettes within certain areas or establishments. This is especially important if you’re a business owner who wants to prioritize the health and well-being of your clients and employees who are non-smokers.

However, creating a policy requires you to find a common ground that works for both smokers and non-smokers alike. That way, you can craft guidelines that cater to both your workers’ health and personal choices. Here’s what you need to know about the benefit of a smoking policy for your small business, and how you can develop one:

Smoking and productivity 

A study on the impacts of heavy smoking in the workplace states that cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption can affect presenteeism, which means that workers who smoke are present but less effective on the job. Taking frequent smoking breaks is one of the most visible and common forms of presenteeism and can hamper productivity at work. Since smoking can also cause a diverse range of diseases, physical symptoms due to cigarette use may also cause smokers to have subpar performance at work and may even lead to absenteeism, which affects manpower and work productivity. This prompts the need for a smoking policy in the workplace.

Policies that seek to regulate the selling and use of tobacco products have been proven effective in reducing global smoking prevalence. A report on the effects of tobacco control policies found that between 2009 and 2017, global smoking prevalence declined by 7.7% for men and by 15.2% among women. If efforts to curb smoking are sustained, more people can be encouraged to quit the habit.

Supporting these efforts can be as simple as developing a smoking policy in your workplace. Here are tips for crafting a smoking policy to encourage your employees to quit:

How to craft a smoking policy 

Have clear communication

According to our previous article on unhealthy workplace culture, employees may be compelled to leave if the working environment becomes toxic, and one way of preventing that is through proper communication, including regarding company policies. Before you craft your smoking policy, be sure to communicate it to all your employees to ensure that everyone is aware of the rules and possible consequences if they fail to comply. You can also involve your workers in crafting the policy to make sure that the guidelines cater to the needs and preferences of both smokers and non-smokers alike. This allows your smoking policy to look acceptable and reasonable in your employees’ eyes, and also shows a commitment to building a healthy working environment that considers the ideas and perspectives of everyone.

Designate specific areas for smoking

One way to develop a smoking policy in the workplace that does not step on your employees’ right to smoke is by allotting certain areas where smoking is permitted. This guarantees the safety and protection of other employees from secondhand smoke. You can designate the backdoor area outside your establishment, parking lots, or areas generally outside your building as smoking zones. This also enables you to avoid the risk of property damage due to fire caused by smoking. Be sure to also provide trash bins or containers in your smoking areas where smokers can discard and dispose of cigarettes properly.

Offer alternatives

You can also suggest possible alternatives to smoking that they can use to avoid frequent smoking breaks, such as nicotine pouches, which are placed between the cheek and gum. Try pointing your employees towards online retailer Prilla, where they can choose from a range of different nicotine pouches. They can opt for brands such as ZYN and ZEO, which have more familiar mint and wintergreen flavors and come in 6mg or 12mg nicotine strengths, or opt for LUCY, which has flavors like espresso and mango. Nicotine lozenges like Nicorette, which has nicotine strengths ranging from 2mg to 4mg, can also be a viable option. You can provide label information about nicotine lozenges when talking about the product so your employees can have more options to choose from.

Guide them towards support systems

Including valuable resources in your policy can also help your employees who wish to quit smoking. You can guide them towards national support systems like the quitline services in the United States to help them gain access to coaches that provide free medications that could help them gradually quit the habit. If you have the budget for it, you can also create a similar program through your HR department for more localized support.

Crafting a smoking policy helps boost the safety and productivity of your workplace. By having clear communication, establishing assigned smoking areas, and offering alternatives and support for those who wish to quit, your smoking policy can help build a more inclusive and healthier workplace. If you’re looking for more entrepreneurial tips, visit Under30CEO for more news and advice.

About The Author

April Isaacs

April Isaacs is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of experience. From the art scene in Paris to pastures in Montana, April has covered individuals' stories and can confirm that no two stories are the same.