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How to Create a Smokefree Workplace

The following example shows one way an organization might implement a no-smoking policy:

January 3rd, 2000: A comprehensive memorandum is sent to all employees expressing management's intent to create a smokefree work environment. The memo gives solid reasons for the policy, including information on the health effects of second-hand smoke, and it points out that OSHA holds an employer's duty to provide a safe and healthy work environment "unqualified and absolute." The memo closes by inviting comments on the company's intentions, assuring employees that the transition to a smokefree work place will be gradual, and promising additional memoranda as the policy takes shape.

February 1st, 2000: A memo is sent to all employees announcing that smoking on company premises will be allowed only until January 1, 2001. In the meantime, the organization intends to discourage smoking except in designated areas and will allow smoking only in those areas after July 1, 2000. The memo also announces that arrangements have been made with a local smoking cessation program to conduct classes on company premises. The company will share the cost of the program and allow employees to attend it during work time.

July 1st, 2000: A memo is sent to all employees stating that, as previously announced, smoking will be permitted only in designated smoking areas during breaks. All ashtrays are removed from smokefree areas, and all supervisory personnel are reminded that they will be responsible for enforcing the new restrictions.

December 31st, 2000: Year-end bonuses are accompanied by a memo reminding all employees that this is the last day they will be allowed to smoke on the premises (including company-owned or leased vehicles). The memo explicitly states that the policy applies to all persons on company premises, whether or not they are employees of the company (e.g., contracted service employees), and that the smokefree policy includes weekends and evenings. Employees are invited to take any leftover ashtrays home with them.

January 1st, 2001: The company begins its new smokefree life.

Variations on this plan are limitless. For example, some organizations might create a committee to develop and implement the transition plan. Regardless of the details, it is important that employees:

  • Understand the reasons for the policy
  • Be given ample time to adjust to it
  • Have an opportunity to offer feedback
  • Receive support for smoking cessation if interested

Also, once the smokefree policy goes into effect, it is essential that the organization enforce it unconditionally (e.g., with a written warning for first-time violations, probation for second-time violations, and termination for third-time offenses).

For further information, see Making Your Workplace Smokefree: A Decision Maker's Guide.

Adapted from Weis, W. L. (September, 1984). No smoking. Personnel Journal, 53-58.


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