15 April 2014

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is urging employers to support staff to stop smoking at work in a manner that is both fun and social.

Ideas include providing workers with information, offering “stop smoking” sessions, and setting up a team challenge to help people give up smoking.

The BHF says that, for many, smoking is ingrained in their lives. Smoke breaks are part of their daily routine at work and for some it is a way to escape from the daily stressful grind.

Manual workers especially often have a limited number of breaks at certain times during the day, making it harder to get out of the routine of having a cigarette.

However, the charity says that the workplace can be a key setting in supporting people to stop smoking for the following reasons.

  • The workplace is convenient for smokers. Providing smoking cessation support at work makes it easy for employees to attend as there is no extra travel required.

  • The workplace allows for flexibility in organising stop smoking sessions, which could range from awareness training to one-to-one or team sessions.

  • When staff quit together, they can support each other, which creates and improves team spirit.

  • Giving up smoking is the equivalent of an instant pay rise, due to savings on the purchase of cigarettes.

  • Quitting at work helps to break the routine of going out for a cigarette during the work shift.

In order to build the business case for a stop smoking at work campaign, the BHF suggests a number of online cost calculators to help work out smoking costs to the business.

The charity also suggests a creative launch event, with a countdown to the day on which smokers are encouraged to quit.

Further information on running workplace-based campaigns to stop smoking can be accessed on the BHF website.