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Smoking

The health consequences of tobacco smoking are well documented and smoking is still the largest cause of avoidable early death in Wales. In 2010, approximately 5,450 deaths in people aged 35 and over were caused by smoking, which is nearly 1 in 5 of all deaths in this age group

Ref: Public Health Wales Observatory (2012) Tobacco and health in Wales. Cardiff: Public Health Wales

Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke has a significant impact on the health of employees and the performance of an organisation. Currently, about 19% of the adult population in Wales smoke tobacco; but it is also estimated that 68% of smokers actually want to give up! This provides employers with a fantastic opportunity to engage their staff about smoking, raising awareness of the health, social and financial impacts, and helping to support them to quit.

The Health, Moral and Business Case for Supporting Employees to Quit
  • Incredibly, one in every two smokers die from smoking related diseases.
  • Reduce costs associated with sickness absence – 34 million working days are lost in England & Wales per year due to smoking.
  • Improve productivity – supporting an employee who smokes to quit can save an organisation up to £4,000 a year due to shorter and less frequent breaks, and less sickness absence.
  • Non-smokers are 33% less likely to be absent from work, and on average, are off work due to ill health 2.7 days a year less than smokers
  • A non-smoking environment encourages smokers to quit and 68% of smokers say they actually want to quit.
Good Practice for Managing Smoking in the Workplace
  • If your organisation isn’t already signed up, register for the Corporate Health Standard or the Small Workplace Health Award and get free support from a dedicated Workplace Health Practitioner to help your organisations’ approach to smoking.
  • Develop a smoke-free policy for your workplace –work towards a smoke-free site. Think about your organisations’ approach to E-cigarettes. If you are new to E-cigarettes, use the Public Health Wales position statement to get an overview of the health considerations. Further support to help you intergrate E-cigarettes into a smoking policy is available from Action on Smoking and Health Wales (ASH Wales).
  • Allow staff to attend smoking cessation support during working hours without loss of pay.
  • Consider raising smoking as standard practice during return to work interviews following a period of sickness absence.
  • Promote, participate and engage the workforce about smoking and tobacco related campaigns, including:

National No Smoking Day 2nd Wednesday of every March

World No Tobacco Day End of May every year

Help and Support Services
  • Help Me Quit is the single point of contact for smokers who want to stop smoking in Wales. The Help Me Quit contact centre team will process all self-referrals from smokers and e-referrals from professions.

Call: 0800 085 2219 / Visit: helpmequit.wales 

Updates and Further Information