A Smoke-Free Policy to Celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month

A healthy, well-rested, focused workforce—it’s every employer’s dream!

And your workplace policies could help make that dream come true.

Take tobacco use, for insurance. A smoke-free policy at your workplace could help limit workers’ tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

And there’s no better time than November to institute one. November just happens to be Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Tobacco smoke is the leading risk factor for developing lung cancer—the second most common type of cancer among men and women. According to the American Cancer Society, a minimum of 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are believed to result from smoking. And breathing in secondhand smoke can increase risk of developing lung cancer by nearly 30 percent.

But what can employers do to help? That’s where a smoke-free policy can make a big impact.

Benefits of a Smoke-Free Policy

A smoke-free policy can certainly help protect workers from the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke. It may even influence workers who do use tobacco to reduce their usage or even quit the habit.

Additionally, limiting tobacco use in the workplace could reduce your company’s direct healthcare costs. It can lower maintenance costs (since matches and cigarette butts will no longer be an issue). And it can reduce rates on health, life, and disability insurance coverage, and work absences due to tobacco-related illness.

How to Create a Smoke-Free Policy

Your first step in developing such a policy is to determine the laws that govern workplace smoking in your area. There is no federal law governing smoking at work, and regulations can vary greatly from state to state. Local regulations may also have regulations on smoking in the workplace.

Once you know your legal obligations regarding smoking in the workplace, you can begin to craft your policy. You can find a sample policy here, which you may choose to use as a template.

Be sure to post your policy where workers can readily see it, and be prepared to provide a copy of the policy to any employee who requests it. Also ensure that your policy includes the consequences for violating it, so workers understand the ramifications if they do not follow its principles. And remember that the purpose of the policy is not to condemn tobacco users, but to limit their harmful behavior in the workplace.

For more than 35 years, Insurance Partners, Inc., has been providing quality protection for individuals, families, and businesses, helping people make sense of their insurance needs so they can look forward to a brighter, more secure future. If you have questions about your insurance coverage, contact us.

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