Getting employees to butt out for good

Steps to success: Conduct an assessment, make it personal and monitor results
By Erin Dick
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/26/2011

With so many smoking restrictions in place, smoking at the office is truly of a bygone era — something seen on TV shows such as Mad Men but never experienced first-hand. It’s hard to fathom nearly one-half (49.5 per cent) of all Canadians smoked in the 1960s, according to Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

We’ve come a long way. Legislation and high cigarette costs have greatly restricted smoking and there’s much more awareness of the health risks, including those related to second-hand and third-hand smoke. The smoking rate has dropped to about 23 per cent, according to a 2011 report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and almost all public areas and workplaces are smoke-free.

While the overall trends are positive, the long-term health and cost issues related to smoking are too often overlooked. The habit and its effect on employee health and employer costs continue to be both relevant and significant.