Smoking Cessation Programmes
26 May 2021
Encourage your employees to quit smoking.
Tobacco kills nearly 8 million people a year1, including around 1.3 million non-smokers as a result of being exposed to second-hand smoke. It contributes to many of the world’s illnesses including coronary heart disease and various cancers. As an employer, you can help protect your employees and your organisation:
Workplace wellbeing programmes have been shown to be successful in reducing tobacco use amongst employees when these programmes follow a robust planning process that assess the current local situation and tailors best practice interventions into the local context. These well designed programmes have reduced tobacco related mortality and morbidity rates within workforce populations by combining a series of methods that involve an initial phase of focus group interviews with key opinion leaders, employee interest surveys and local epidemiological data extraction surveys. This initial phase then is used to feed into the design and roll out of tobacco control programmes that involve senior leadership buy and are coupled with smart incentives for successful quitters.
Employers have therefore increasingly adopted tobacco control programmes after the growing realisation that tobacco related non-communicable disease (NCDs) result in costs:
- at the individual level resulting in potential loss of income and potential loss of employment
- to employers through output losses due to reduced productivity, sick leave and recruitment
- to society as a whole through healthcare costs, forgone taxes and negative impact on friends and family.
Long-term evidence has additionally shown that health status and productivity are interlinked to the idea that a healthy workforce is associated with a healthy business. Hinging on this principal, workplace tobacco cessation programmes have emerged as a combination of educational, and organizational activities designed to motivate and encourage healthy lifestyles among company employees and their families while impacting the bottom line for their shareholders.
International SOS is pleased to support the World Health Organization's Commit to Quit campaign, raising the profile of this critical issue and helping our clients and their employees to Commit to Quit.
Smoking Awareness Facts
- Smoking causes death and disease. Tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year: About 1.200,000 of these deaths were non-smokers who breathed in second-hand smoke.
- Smoking and cardiovascular disease: Smoking damages the blood vessels – even in young people. Risk of heart attacks and strokes – and other cardiovascular disease rises. Smoking as few as 5 cigarettes a day or less greatly increases your risk of heart attack.
- Lung cancer: the most well-known danger. Smoking causes most lung cancer cases. The risk goes up with the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years smoking.
- Second-hand smoke: Smoke that is exhaled from a smoker or released from the burning tobacco is often referred to as second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke can stay in the air for hours after smoking has ended. Children that are exposed to second-hand smoke can have many health problems, including ear and lung infections, frequent and severe asthma attacks, and a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
No matter how long or how much someone has smoked, quitting has an immediate positive impact on their body.
Benefits of quitting
|Time since quitting||Health benefits|
|20 minutes||Heart rate and blood pressure drop.|
|12 hours||The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.|
|2-12 weeks||Circulation improves and lunch function increases.|
|1-9 months||Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.|
|1 year||Risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker.|
|5-15 years||Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker|
|10 years||Risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.|
|10 years||Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decreases.|
|15 years||Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.|
Tips to Stop Smoking
Quitting smoking takes a lot of preparation and planning. There are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of succeeding:
- Decide to quit. Write down your reasons for quitting.
- Set a quit date and seek support. Speak to your medical team and inform your family and friends.
- Formulate a quit plan. Strategies may involve medication, nicotine replacement, online, apps, telephone and in-person support etc.
- Deal with withdrawal. Cravings are normal. Pre-plan ways to cope.
- Stay quit. It may take several attempts, don’t give up if you fail initially.
For information on how to support your workforce, implement a smoking cessation programme or a workplace wellbeing programme, do get in touch.
1. World Health Organisation Tobacco Fact Sheet