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    Why should a workplace be smoke-free?

    Tobacco smoke is a health risk for both smokers and non-smokers in indoor environments and in some outdoor environments. The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission recommend that all Australian workplaces should be made completely smoke-free reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.

    Reasons to be a smoke-free workplace:

    • Protects the health and safety of staff and service users (there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke)
    • Supports quitting
    • Employees can be encouraged to give quitting a go
    • The sight and smell of others smoking can be a trigger for those trying to quit
    • Prevents the uptake of smoking
    • Smoking is not seen as normal which prevents young people from taking up smoking
    • Reinforces a healthy workplace
    • Encourages and influences positive health behaviours
    • Raises awareness of health risks of smoking
    • Promoting smoke-free environments de-normalises smoking without demonising smokers
    • Saves cost for the organisation
    • Less absenteeism due to ill-health
    • Reduced number of breaks for smoking
    • Reduced risk of legal action from second-hand smoke injuries

    Smoke-free workplaces and the law

    In 2004 the South Australian government introduced new laws that banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces. This law aimed to protect people from exposure to second-hand smoke and to the negative health effects of passive smoking.

    For more information about tobacco laws, see the SA Health site: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au

    How to develop a smoke-free policy

    A good smoke free policy enables organisations to be clear about how smoking is managed in the workplace.  Policy allows an organisation to spell out the rationale and principles behind their approach and sets expectations that will guide procedures.

    A clear policy should be developed around smoking that makes the organisation 100% Smoke-free. That is, smoking by staff, clients or any other people is not permitted in any part of the organisational environment. This will include vehicles, all outdoor environments and where home visiting is a part of service delivery; particular practices will be adopted to ensure workers do not smoke with clients and are not exposed to second-hand smoke.

    Seven steps to developing a smoke-free workplace policy

    1. Establish a workplace committee with representatives across the organisation, including executive support.
    2. Involve employees and clients (smokers and non-smokers) in the development. Assess their attitudes toward the policy and ask about their concerns.
    3. Develop a written policy that outlines how this will be achieved.
    • Purpose of the policy
    • Time-frame for implementation
    • Clear statement about where smoking is not permitted
    • Details of support for staff and clients
    • Consequences of non-compliance
    • Contact person for the policy
    1. Communicate the policy to employees and clients. Give plenty of notice of the change and promote the support offered. You might like to involve Quitline  in your communication with staff.
    2. Provide training to staff who are required to implement.
    3. Follow a timetable and implement the policy including consequences.
    4. Evaluate the impact of the policy and review regularly.

    What support could I offer staff and clients in going smoke-free?

    Support to staff and clients is a key element in ensuring smoke-free policies work.  Organisations need to decide to what extent they can support staff and clients to quit or manage their smoking. These are a few suggestions for supporting staff and clients:

    Education for staff

    • About the policy and the importance of a smoke-free workplace
    • Understanding smoking and addiction and ways to quit. See below  for how Quitline can support this step.
    • For managers – how to support their staff
    • How to support clients in their quitting

    Quit smoking aids for staff and clients

    • Nicotine replacement therapy – your workplace may offer subsidy or free supplies for smokers to support them in quitting
    • Organise workplace support groups for those quitting smoking.
    • Allow staff to receive smoking cessation counselling from Quitline (13 7848) during work hours.

    Quitline support for smoke-free workplaces

    Quitline can support your workplace in the transition to smoke-free. Speak with one of our smoking cessation counsellors on 13 7848 about your policy development. You might also be interested in Quitline delivering a one-hour Quit smoking: where do I start workshop with staff in preparing to go smoke-free.

    Quit smoking: where do I start workshop ($150 per session)

    Quitline counsellors can deliver a one-hour workshop for smokers and non-smokers. The session covers:

    • Why people smoke
    • The 3 aspects of smoking – nicotine addiction, habits/routines and emotions
    • Ways to quit smoking – cold turkey, nicotine replacement therapy and medications
    • Support for quitting smoking – Quitline and phone aps

    For more information or to book a workshop, contact us on 13 7848 or quitline@cancersa.org.au

    Additional resources

    Click on the pictures below for more information regarding Quitline resources, a guide to going smoke-free and training/courses.

    To order smoke-free signage click here.