Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaiʻi
1500 South Beretania, Suite 309
Honolulu, HI 96817
Reasons to Make Workplaces Smoke-Free
- Smoke-free policies do not adversely affect business, and sometimes boost it, according to studies that use sales tax data and sound research methods.
- Most smokers accept smoke-free policies and 70% want to quit smoking (National Cancer Institute).
- Furniture lasts longer and burn holes are avoided in tablecloths, carpets, or cloth coverings.
- Repainting ceilings, walls, and replacing window coverings yellowed by tobacco smoke is eliminated. Smoking in the workplace damages property and increases cleaning costs. A survey of 2,000 workplaces found that 23.3% of those with smoking restrictions reported a reduction in maintenance costs. (Swart, "An Overlooked Cost of Employee Smoking" Personnel, August 1990.)
- Ashtrays never have to bought or cleaned again.
- Eliminates complaints about drifting smoke. Smoking causes a great deal of discomfort in the workplace. 59.2% of nonsmoking employees report suffering discomfort, and even 15% of smoking employees report some degree of discomfort from secondhand smoke. (CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 22, 1992.)
- People with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems – including seniors – will become more loyal patrons.
- Less sick leave caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Reduced insurance costs. Many insurance companies will offer lower rates for smoke-free businesses because of healthier employees and reduced fire risk. The National Fire Protection Association found that in 1998 (the most recent year for which data is available) smoking materials caused 8,700 fires in non-residential structures resulting in 17 deaths, 163 injuries, and a direct property damage of $60.5 million. (Hall, Jr., J.R., "The U.S. Smoking-Material Fire Problem," National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, April 2001.)
- More productive workers. Workers in smoke-free businesses take fewer smoke breaks. Secondhand smoke harms the health and reduces the productivity of nonsmokers, costing employers money. Estimated costs associated with secondhand smoke's effects on nonsmokers range from $56 to $490 per smoker per year. (Kristein, "How Much Can Business Expect to Profit From Smoking Cessation?" Preventive Medicine, 1983;12:358-381; Jackson & Holle, "Smoking: Perspectives 1985" Primary Care, 1985; 12:197-216.)
- Healthier workers. By removing secondhand smoke from the workplace, many employees’ health will improve. Additionally, smokers will smoke fewer cigarettes helping to improve their health.
- Reduced liability. As a business owner, if you subject your employees to dangerous situations, you may be liable if they develop diseases or injuries. By removing smoking, you are not exposing your employees to a hazardous situation. Workers exposed to secondhand smoke on the job are 34% more likely to get lung cancer. (Fontham, et al. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention,1991; 135: 35-43.)
- In 2002, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that cancer was the largest killer in the workplace, accounting for approximately 640,000 workplace-related deaths per year globally. ILO stated that secondhand smoke in the workplace is estimated to cause 2.8 percent of all workplace cancer. (Reuters, May 24, 2002.)
- Employees support smoke-free policies. In 2000, the proportion who thought that smoking should not be allowed at all in indoor work areas ranged from 66.4% in Wisconsin to 83.8% in DC. (CDC, "State-specific prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults, and policies and attitudes about secondhand smoke: United States, 2000," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 50(49): 1101-1106, December 14, 2001.)
- A survey of businesses conducted by the Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA) International found that the elimination of smoking from a building reduced cleaning expenses by an average of 10%. (Garland, W.S., BOMA Supports Smoking Ban in Buildings, http://www.boma.org/comartle/comsmoke.htm, [n.d.].)