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How to Make Your Workplace Smoke-Free

August 24, 2023
By Pivot
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As more businesses embrace healthier practices, implementing a smoke-free policy is crucial. Such policies help your workforce lead healthier, happier lives while reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity at work

With benefits that can significantly improve your company’s healthcare costs, bottom line, and long-term success, it’s worth spending the time to make sure yours is effective, comprehensive, and supportive.

This step-by-step guide will help you make your organization smoke-free to benefit your workforce and bottom line.

Understand the Importance of a Smoke-Free Workplace

The perks of going smoke-free will ripple throughout your organization. Here’s an overview of the benefits.

Make employees feel valued

Smoking isn’t a solitary act – it's a communal health hazard that affects people who smoke and non-smokers alike (due to secondhand smoke exposure). By creating a smoke-free workplace, employers demonstrate their commitment to protecting the health of all team members. This act of care translates into a workforce that feels valued, respected, and motivated to give their best.

Plus, organizations that prioritize the health of their workforce set an example for others to follow. This fosters a culture of well-being that extends beyond your office walls.

Reduced sick days

Reduced sick days emerge as a victorious consequence. Smoking-related illnesses often lead to increased absenteeism, disrupting workflow and straining resources.

Increased productivity

Meanwhile, a smoke-free environment paves the way for a healthier and more energized workforce and improved overall productivity.

Lower healthcare costs

As the smoke clears, another remarkable advantage emerges: lower healthcare costs. Smoking-related health issues drive up healthcare expenses for both employees and employers. By championing a smoke-free policy, employers help support their employees financially while also making a strategic investment in the long-term financial health of their organization. This frees up resources that can be redirected toward talent development, training, and innovation.

Attract talent

Beyond the tangible benefits, understanding the advantages of a smoke-free workplace sends a powerful message to potential employees. It signals that the organization is invested in its workforce's personal growth and development, creating an attractive and nurturing environment for top talents to thrive. This enhances recruitment and retention efforts, strengthening the organization's ability to stay competitive in the job market.

Provide Smoke-Free Resources

Make it easier for employees to embrace a smoke-free lifestyle by providing resources such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, informational pamphlets, and self-help materials. Display these resources prominently in common areas like break rooms and bulletin boards.

You can also utilize holistic cessation programs like Pivot Breathe, which offers coaching, lessons, NRT, and a supportive community.

Lead by Example

Foster a smoke-free workplace culture by encouraging management and leadership to lead by example. Ensure that all supervisors, executives, and managers adhere to the policy and show their commitment to a healthier work environment.

Remember, when employees see that leadership fully embraces the change, they are more likely to follow suit.

Develop a Comprehensive Smoke-Free Policy

To make your workplace smoke-free, start by crafting a detailed smoke-free policy. The policy should clearly define designated smoking areas (if any), penalties for non-compliance, and the date when the policy takes effect.

Assemble a Policy Development Team

Gather a diverse group of stakeholders to form a policy development team. Ideally, this team should include human resources, legal, management, and employee representatives. Having different perspectives will ensure the policy is comprehensive and well-rounded.

Clearly Define the Scope

Decide on the scope of the policy. Will it be a 100% smoke-free policy, or will there be designated smoking areas? Define where smoking is prohibited and where it may be allowed, if applicable, such as in outdoor spaces away from entrances.

It’s also essential to identify the specific objectives of the smoke-free policy. This could include promoting employee health, reducing absenteeism, enhancing productivity, and creating a more pleasant work environment.

Communicate the Policy

After finalizing the policy, communicate it to all employees, managers, and stakeholders. Host meetings, workshops, or training sessions to ensure everyone understands the policy and its objectives.

Also, clearly define the consequences for non-compliance with the smoke-free policy. Outline progressive disciplinary actions for employees who violate the policy, and the support you offer to those struggling.

Educate Employees and Management

Communications Campaign

Launch a communication campaign to announce the new policy. Use multiple channels – like email, company newsletters, and notice boards – to share the benefits, policy details, and objectives.

You can also distribute educational materials, such as brochures, fact sheets, and posters, that highlight the dangers of smoking and the benefits of a smoke-free workplace. Include information on smoking cessation programs and resources available to support employees who want to quit smoking.

Organize Information Sessions

Host live information sessions where employees and management can participate and interact with the policy developers. These sessions can be in-person or virtually to cater to various work arrangements. Encourage open discussions, address concerns, and clarify any misconceptions about the policy.

Another idea is to offer training sessions and workshops to equip managers with the knowledge and skills to implement and enforce the policy effectively. Managers should understand the rationale behind the policy, how to handle non-compliance, and how to support employees in transitioning to a smoke-free environment.

Employee Engagement Activities

Organize fun and interactive activities to engage employees in the smoke-free initiative. For example, you can host health and wellness challenges, team-building events, or health fairs that promote a smoke-free lifestyle.

Acknowledging and celebrating milestones in the journey toward a smoke-free workplace is also essential. Recognize employees who have quit smoking or have been supportive of the policy through awards or other forms of recognition.

Seek Employee Feedback

Create a feedback mechanism for employees to share their thoughts and concerns about the new policy. You can do this through surveys, suggestion boxes, or dedicated communication channels. Use this feedback to address any challenges and improve the implementation process.

Also, continue to provide education and reinforcement based on their feedback. Regularly remind employees about the policy, share success stories, and offer additional resources for smoking cessation.

Enforce the Policy Consistently

Enforcing the smoke-free policy is vital to its success. Ensure that the policy applies to everyone, including visitors and clients. Train security personnel and other relevant staff to handle non-compliance appropriately.

Regularly assess the effectiveness of the smoke-free policy. Seek feedback from employees and managers to identify any challenges or areas for improvement. Use this information to update the policy as needed.

Continuously monitor compliance with the policy and address any issues that arise. Be flexible as the company's needs and circumstances change over time.


Transitioning to a smoke-free workplace is a significant step towards creating a healthier and more productive environment for your employees. You can successfully implement a smoke-free environment by understanding the importance of a smoke-free workplace, developing a comprehensive policy, educating employees, and providing support.

Regular evaluation and updates will ensure your policy remains relevant and practical. Embrace this change, and your workplace will reap the rewards of a healthier and happier workforce.

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FAQs About How to Make Your Workplace Smoke-Free

What are the benefits of implementing a smoke-free policy in the workplace?
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Benefits include healthier and happier employees, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, lower healthcare costs, and an enhanced ability to attract and retain talent.

How does a smoke-free workplace impact healthcare costs for a company?
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A smoke-free workplace can lead to lower healthcare costs as it reduces smoking-related health issues, decreasing expenses for both employees and employers.

What resources can employers provide to support employees transitioning to a smoke-free lifestyle?
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Employers can offer resources like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, informational pamphlets, self-help materials, and holistic cessation programs like Pivot Breathe.

How should a company communicate its smoke-free policy to its employees?
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Companies should use multiple channels like email newsletters and notice boards. Hosting meetings, workshops, or training sessions also ensures everyone understands the policy and its objectives.

Why is it important to consistently enforce a smoke-free policy, and how can a company ensure its effectiveness?
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Consistent enforcement is vital for the policy's success, ensuring everyone's safety and health. The company can monitor compliance, train security personnel to handle non-compliance, and regularly seek feedback to address challenges and update the policy.

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