Smokefree Workplaces

Smokefree Workplaces

Creating a Smokefree work environment benefits health, the community and your business.

Making your workplace Smokefree supports the vision of a Smokefree New Zealand/Aotearoa by 2025.

Successful Smokefree Policies

How to ensure the success of a Smokefree Policy

  • Have a written smokefree policy.
  • Promote the policy widely within the organisation – ensure everyone knows including other premises visitors, such as contractors, cleaners etc.
  • Provide support or access to support for smokers to quit or manage their addiction.
  • Consider using a staged approach when implementing a totally smokefree policy. This may include a timeframe where quit support is the focus in preparation for a publicised set date for going smokefree.
  • Refer to the policy in employment procedures for new staff (e.g. job descriptions, interviews and orientation packs).
  • Determine a process and identify responsibilities to address non-compliance and use it. While it may not be an issue, this should be planned for as non compliance can escalate and undermine the policy to an extent that it can become meaningless. Most commonly, this would be addressed in the same manner as other breaches of company policy.
  • Use and display quit smoking resources and smokefree signs.
    Get smokefree signage and resources from the Health Promotion Agency.
  • Identify ways of providing quit support. Help is available.
  • Provide support for existing staff who do not quit smoking. Providing access nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is an option for them to manage their addiction while at work.

Case study: Elastomer Products - Making workplace Smokefree “worth it”

From left to right: Mark Field, Alan Maslin and Marian Tredinnick from Elastomer Products.Elastomer Products (EPL) staff member Steve wasn’t too happy when he heard that his employer planned to make his whole worksite Smokefree. “I’d been smoking for 32 years and at the time I was smoking 30 cigarettes a day. I couldn’t imagine not being able to smoke when I was at work." However as a result of the company’s change in policy he did quit smoking – a move that is saving him $250 a week.

His colleague Alan, aged 60, says he started smoking at 14 and was a “chain smoker” before becoming the first EPL staff member to quit following the new policy. “EPL gave me the opportunity to do it and I did. Mentally I feel very pleased with myself, physically it took a while, but it’s getting better all the time. Quitting smoking has allowed me to buy a brand new car, so that’s a good incentive.”

Moving into a new building after the earthquakes was a great opportunity to kick start a Smokefree policy, says EPL Human Resources Manager, Marian Tredinnick. “We had been talking about it for some time and met with a lot of resistance. Initially there was anger and because no managers smoked there was a bit of a feeling that we were only doing it because we didn’t smoke ourselves”.

Marian says some of the older staff who smoked were developing respiratory issues. “Two ended up in hospital with pneumonia this winter. We felt anything we could do to help must be a good thing.”

EPL gave staff plenty of warning by signalling the change eight to 12 months ahead. “Staff then put forward ideas such as having a smoking shed out the back. But we decided no, if we are going to do this let’s do it properly, it’s better for our people and their general wellbeing. We have got to be brave.”

So EPL contacted Community and Public Health. C&PH's Smokefree Team provided strategic advice and brought in Aukati Kaipaipa Quit Coach Christine Solomon to offer stop smoking support, including free Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

Marian said making a stand for Smokefree wasn’t always easy but once a few employees started to quit others began to see the positive spin offs and followed. About seven staff members had now quit and she is hopeful others will too. “Some workplaces are probably a bit frightened to go Smokefree, it may not always be an easy journey, but it’s worth it in the end.”