We have decided to ban tobacco from our property. I feel certain there are many of you who have already been through the process of eliminating tobacco use from your facility. We plan on giving everyone a 3 month notice prior to the ban going into effect. Would you please share any "arguments" that arose from your employees when you implemented your policy? I am hoping to have a heads up on what type of feedback I will most likely receive when the announcement is made.


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  • 1. Does your policy prohibit use of any kind of tobacco products on the premises?
    2. What are you telling your employees as to why you are taking this action?
    3. What per cent of your employees does this affect?
    4. Are you promoting this as a wellness issue only?
    5. Did you include tobacco users in focus groups before you plan to publish your policy?
    6. What is the educational level of your employees?
    7. Is this company in a rural, country setting?
    8. What "carrots", if any, will you use? Going to offer smoking cessation programs, per chance?
    9. What will be the penalities for non-compliance?
    10. Is top management going to help you roll out this new policy?

    Those are some questions I would raise before an answer can be given to you.

    But for the sake of trying to answer the arguments can be many depending on the number of tobacco users it affects, what part of the country you live in, the type of company operation, etc.

    For the most part the banning of tobacco use on company premises is your own call regardless. But it can create a major employee uproar so you have to handle it delicately and with understanding.

    All in all your planning process will overcome, for the most part, negative reactions if you take the time to really study what you are doing and why as well as the eventual outcomes.

    I know I have not exactly supplied you with specifics but a lot to think about...

  • You're right. There are a lot of things to think about. I guess to complicate matters, we are a manufacturing company in the rural South (Virginia). We plan on making the policy effective for our entire property and not just the building. The push to become tobacco free is coming from top mgt. (Pres. and 2 V.P.'s). We are going to set up smoking cessation classes here and are giving a 3 month notice so as to not catch someone off guard with the decision. I would say the 80-20 rule would apply as far as non-smokers to smokers go and the majority of the 20% are dippers/chewers. Not that that makes it easier to quit. It will no doubt be an uphill battle in the early going and we are preparing to lose some key people. We hope it will not come to that, but we have to be prepared.
  • NY passed laws about smoking in public areas, such as the workplace, back in about 1991. Our policy had been for years that ee's could not go outside during breaks since they were still on the clock, only during lunch when they punched out. We put butt collectors by the doors and told ee's they had to put out their smokes when they entered the building and couldn't smoke again until lunch. One young woman would be sitting at her workbench for the last 30 minutes before lunch break with tears running down her cheeks because she needed that nicotine so bad. She was first in line everyday at the time clock and first out the door. People would get desperate and sneak a smoke in the rest rooms. Within a few months we allowed ee's to go outside in designated areas during their normal scheduled breaks to smoke. The biggest problems now are keeping the smoking areas clean and making sure people don't sneak out for extra smoke breaks.

    When you say tobacco will be banned from the property, does that mean ee's will not be allowed to smoke at all, even outside?

    One of our customers manufactures health care equipment used by hospitals. They have banned tobacco completely from their property making ee's cross the road and smoke in an empty lot across the street. Works for them.
  • Kudos on going smoke free! Our company is going through the same thing. I found a great resource with the local office of the American Cancer Society, which operates in conjunction with the American Lung Association. By working with them, they were able to give me the most common "fights" employees put up, as well as resources to ease through the transition. Also, we were able to get considered for a grant that would provide free smoking cessation opportunities for employees - free nicotine patches, telephone counseling, etc.

    The ALA has been great, but just remember that smokers want to still be treated as employees, and not as outcasts for their choices. Support from upper management and "Carrots" are a great way to help them feel valued.

    Plus, once you tell ee's their insurance premiums are going up if they don't quit, they're pretty quick to fall in line. Good luck, and please let me know if you need more info on the ALA!
  • Thanks for the support. The ALA is a great idea. The avenue to tap into others experiences are just one more reason why this forum is such a good resource. We don't want to set the smokers apart but more and more we get complaints about employees smoke bothering others. Currently, we allow smoking/tobacco use everywhere in the shop. It is banned in the office and cafeteria. We are planning to offer cessation classes and we are giving 2-3 month notice before beginning the new policy.
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