Tobacco Free Grounds to Improve the Bottom Line

Posted by  //  April 26, 2016  //  News

More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of making their worksites tobacco-free, including improvements in employee health and productivity and significant savings to their bottom line.

The costs associated with tobacco use—in both lives and money—are well established. Each year in the United States, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. The estimated costs of smoking-related medical expenses and loss of productivity exceed $167 billion annually.

Employers incur a considerable share of the overall costs of tobacco use. A recent comprehensive analysis found that employees who smoke cost an employer on average $5,816 more than a non-smoking employee due to increased absenteeism, loss of productivity related to nicotine addiction, smoke breaks, and extra health care costs.

Tobacco-free workplaces protect employees, visitors and clients from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, support the efforts of smokers who want to quit, and increase the number of smokers who are motivated to quit.

The scope of health is much broader than something we get in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Our families, schools, neighborhoods and our work places are also important in determining our health outcomes and behaviors.  Everyone should have the opportunity to make choices that allow him/her to live a long, healthy life, regardless of income, education and place of employment. To build a healthy workforce and community requires individuals to make healthy choices and a societal commitment to remove the obstacles preventing too many of us from making those choices.

The Tobacco Free Zone program can assist employers in their quest to go tobacco-free by providing free signs, sample policies from other worksites, and cessation resources. For more information contact Jennifer Hamilton @ (607) 758-5501 or jhamilton@cortland-co.org. In Tompkins County, contact Ted Schiele @ (607) 274-6712 or tschiele@tompkins-co.org.

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