Through the years, consciousness against smoking has grown indefinitely and nowadays it is a known fact that smoking, as well as passive smoking is harmful to people's health. This leads us to the danger of these results in workplaces, which is now a serious issue for many individuals and demand a healthy working environment by insisting to create a legislation about the employer's and employee's rights and commitments. Nowadays some form of legislation is already in place which is seen in most workplaces; however it still must be enforced even more for the sake of people's welfare. Although developing a smoke free work environment is generally the ideal, this also has a series of disadvantages which affects us with an economic and social level.
Advantages of Smoke Free Workplaces
There are six significant reasons for employers to aid smoke free workplaces:
level of productivity;
reduction of costs;
greater job satisfaction;
Positive commercial image.
The most effective investment that an employer can make can be an investment in employee welfare because the employees drive the company to success or failure. Information show that employees who do not smoke or aren't exposed to continuous passive smoking take fewer unwell days and over time are more effective. Employees who smoke or are at the mercy of extreme passive smoking are more likely to retire early or go on disability. It really is a known fact that a lot of people want to give up smoking and therefore a healthier environment at the job may encourage them to quit. In some instances, it can be possible to get lower health, life, and impairment insurance plan as fewer employees smoke.
Level of productivity
Nowadays smoke free workplaces should be implemented by the employers not entirely because of health reasons but also because "the main reason for productivity dropping because of the smoking at work is the absenteeism", as the "Action on Smoking and Health" (ASH) advises (www. ash. org. uk). This lack of productivity is added by employees having way too many smoke breaks which cause numerous interruptions to the job at hand and therefore becoming inefficient. Furthermore the smoke breaks are not regulated with a specific time or rate of recurrence. For this reason inefficiency, non smokers have to work harder to pay for the work load of the smokers when they are on smoke breaks. This may also create squabbles between employees because of the unbalanced workload of smokers versus non smokers and non smokers may argue about the detriment of passive smoking, which they might feel is against their fundamental rights. This sort of friction may impact the degrees of productivity and harmony of a workplace. Hereunder is an excerpt about the difference a smoker could make to a company.
"It costs the average business 2000-3000 more to hire a smoker when compared to a non smoker. Within the South East only, around 370 million is lost to businesses credited to sick days and nights considered by smokers. An astounding 1. 2 billion is lost from employees taking smoking breaks during the day. Research in addition has shown that 70% of smokers want to quit - becoming smoke cigars free may help them accomplish that. " (Authorities Office South East, 2005)
Reduction of costs
Companies invest a lot of money into employing and training their employees and therefore it is important to allow them to be healthy. If employees should stop smoking, employers will dsicover less loss of skills and knowledge, and for that reason will reduce the price of training employees in the long run. Statistics show that many companies which offered smoke cigarettes free workplaces to their employees all ended up having positive results. The Canadian Lung Connection reported that the economic benefits of smoking free workplaces are recognizable over the long term such as five years or more.
Greater job satisfaction
Several studies show that the vast majority of both smokers and non smokers opt to work in a smoke cigars free environment. When employees are healthy and have a strong sense of personal welfare, there is an improvement in their morale and the overall quality of the task environment. In this environment, employees tend to be more productive and feel a greater sense of commitment. Statistics show that the majority of individuals who smoke cigarettes want to quit and several nationwide surveys that occurred in Canada confirmed that fewer people are smoking and those who smoke are smoking less.
In our everyday life we experience two environments that have a great affect on people's health, which can be homes and workplaces. Which means workplace is an essential surrounding to help visitors to quit smoking for most reasons:
A substantial amount of time is spent at the workplace
Due to the large number of employees that workplaces contain, this environment can reach out to many people and therefore have the chance to influence a powerful amount of smokers constantly.
Workplaces supply the opportunity to talk with people from all walks of life and consequently the workplace might be considered a ideal place for smokers to get the required information and support from other employees, and from other people who promote health at work.
Enforcing a smoking ban in workplaces induces smokers to cut down or quit and the non smokers to stay from smoking.
The employer's role is very important in this process because they can present employees opportunities and choices which can only help them succeed in quitting smoking. By providing smoking free workplaces, employers and health promoters in workplaces can give the required support for those attempting to give up.
Positive corporate and business image
In the business world, the organization image means a great deal because what a company represents influences the opinion of men and women interested in the business. An optimistic image helps appeal to potential investors and valuable employees. This kind of image is up maintained by complying with the non smoking legislation and offering of services and support to the business's employees. The greater the determination of the company in its employee's welfare, a lot more respected the company becomes. The firms which offer such smoke cigars free workplaces and employee support become workplaces of preference.
Employers and employees - protection under the law and obligations
These previously listed factors have led to the creation of plans which observe the rights and responsibilities of the employers and employees. Such plans include
Operating guidelines of an smoke free work area including the protection under the law of non smokers and the conformity with the legislation of the precise country which pertains to smoking in work places.
The legislation nowadays covers all workplaces and certain countries do not make provision for smoking in restrooms, canteens, corridors, personal office buildings or meeting lounges. Specific places and times must be place from the company if it allows smoking areas.
Such provisions as mentioned above are available at the employer's discretion, including policies regarding smoking outside the house or providing the necessary litter bins where the cigarette butts can be thrown away.
Employers contain the right to write down time allowed for smoking cycles and the addition of working time for the non smokers as contractual obligations and conditions.
Employees possess the to complain about conditions with regards to having a smoke cigars free work place.
Employees possess the obligation to comply with policies on paper in a contractual agreement and if they neglect to comply, they need to face repercussions.
Employers may offer support services and counseling for those prepared to give up smoking.
Employees with an increased health risk such as people who have asthma and pregnant women must get special attention to keep potential risks at bay.
The entire smoking regulations must be reviewed regularly so that if any changes are necessary anticipated to new legislation or a short modification or stricter plans, these can be provided for.
These policies may range between minor restrictions to complete ban of smoking.
At first companies chosen segregated areas in a work place by separating the smokers from the non smokers. Therefore this needed that the groupings have their split workstations, work place, meal area etc Although in the beginning this looked ideal, it is not that effective because the tobacco smoke continues to be not entirely eliminated through ventilation systems or electrostatic filters. Which means end result will conclude being similar to a place of work without segregation, although with the effects considerably reduced. In the long run smokers did not like being segregated from other friends and fellow workers, and non smokers still reported that they could breathe in the tobacco smoke in their segregated area. Generally there are mainly 2 effective policies which are carried out:
In order to be always a smoke free work area, no smoking should be allowed in company premises and vehicles. Though it may allow designated outdoor areas where you are free to smoke.
An alternative coverage to the specified area might be an area which is well ventilated.
In various aspects, tobacco smoke can be in comparison to other air contaminant, which for it to be reduced or completely eradicated, a controlling method should be created at the source. This is where the value of policies is necessary. By implementing insurance policies and enforcing methods we are making certain we safe protect the welfare of the employees. Nonetheless it is ineffective to execute a smoke free workplace unless you contain the support of your employees. It is therefore important that such a transition be put into practice as easily as is feasible through discourse from beforehand. In order to do such a transition specific steps can be taken, such as organising open up discussions to all employees of each group. When such dialogue has taken place, then a company with the back-up of its employees can begin the transition whilst keeping the employees enlightened at every stage. Over time when a company has completed such a transition, it must put its feet down and be prepared to enforce a smoking ban. It's important that after such a ban, no one is granted special privileges among smokers if not resentment amidst them will learn to arise.
Disadvantages of Smoke Free Workplaces
Although many would agree that there are many advantages to smoke free workplaces, banning smoking in workplaces also has its disadvantages over a national aspect. An instantaneous disadvantage which will take place following a complete ban is the show up in the sales of cigarettes and income of the tobacco industry. At first this might seem not a bad idea, however the fallout effects of such a distinct drop throughout the market will impact the national monetary value. The British tobacco industry explained that if the tobacco legislation was launched, 1. 6 billion pounds would be lost every year. Because of the sudden reduction of cigarette ingestion, this huge deficit would be devastating to the tobacco industry. Furthermore a huge countrywide loss is made from cigarette taxation.
"Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) indicated that the UK has the highest tobacco taxes in the European Union (www. ash. org. uk/taxation. htm). For instance, the price tag on a pack of 20 high grade brand cigarettes presently costs 4. 65 pounds, which is nearly 80% of the price of a packet of smokes includes taxation (www. ash. org. uk). THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT received 9, 616 million pounds in revenue from cigarette in 2001, and acquired 8, 055 million pounds in revenue from tobacco obligations for the financial yr 2002-2003 (www. irs. gov). "
These reports show how much money is produced from cigarette taxation and could be why many governments still refuse to commit themselves to tobacco control legislation even though they are hazardous. Banning smoking in workplaces would decrease the amount of smoking cigarettes bought and for that reason less earnings from cigarette taxation for the federal government.
Another drawback of banning smoking in workplaces, is the amount of unemployment scheduled to a decrease in consumption of cigarettes, less employees will be needed to manufacture and disperse cigarettes.
"According to the official estimations, in 2002, 3, 362 people were used in the cigarette industry, with an additional 3, 653 employed in the low cost trade of cigarette products (www. dudley. gov. uk). Compared with the data in 1996, 6, 000 people were used in the making of tobacco, with an additional 7, 100 employed in the general and retail sale of cigarette products (www. surneyllp. org. uk). "
Approximately the tobacco industry release twice the quantity of employees in 2002 regarding 1996. Due to the degree of unemployment which would be brought on if the legislation was carried out completely, may be another reason why governments are hesitant to such legislation.
The disadvantages up to now were on a national level; however there are drawbacks which impact smokers on an individual level in their day-to-day social life. Not absolutely all smokers have the ability to handle changes well so when one tries to change such practices, some might find the transition much harder than they might have thought. You can find occasions when such smokers think it is impossible and undergo serious breakdowns or arbitrary occasions of uncontrollable trend. When the cigarette legislation is applied on a nationwide size unemployed smokers might find it harder to discover a job which suits their circumstance.
The employers likewise have some down sides when committing themselves to smoke cigars free workplaces, for example they have a smaller selection to choose from employees if smokers will never be willing to conform to such environments. This might develop a bigger problem if valuable people would not even make an application for such a job because of the environment conditions. This could lead possible competitors who don't impose these conditions to employ such valuable people and for that reason conclude having an edge in the market. If companies are willing to proceed through with a smoke cigars free workplace, they must be prepared to incur some costs such as ventilation systems or different areas for smokers.
By now it ought to be quite clear that although applying a smoking free work environment has its benefits and drawbacks, you need to always give more importance to people's health as opposed to the financial facet of the problem. Although this might be easier said than done especially for those employers which are straight or indirectly dependent on the tobacco industry, we should keep into point of view that as humans we should respect each other above all. It is therefore the employer's moral obligation to safeguard his employee's welfare above any financial gain one might achieve. That is also relevant for some governments which under oath swear to safeguard the protection under the law of its people. We as a people must do our part by respecting other people's rights and following rules which in the long run are for our own benefit. A good example in this subject is when a smoker refrains from smoking in a general public place because he could be a source of passive smoking to other folks, not because regulations always says so but anticipated to respect for one another. Non smokers likewise have the moral obligation to respect other people's choice to smoking where it is legitimately allowed and in such a case the non smoker can you shouldn't be surrounding the smoker if he/she has a selection. Although in an excellent world cigarette smoking do not can be found, we can only try to help smokers, but we eventually cannot impose anything to them and for that reason must value their choice.
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