ACCORDING to recent research by the British Heart Foundation, Scotland has the highest percentage of smokers in the UK, and this Wednesday (13 March) will mark the 30th anniversary for a national campaign to help smokers to ditch cigarettes.
The annual ‘No Smoking Day’, in association with the British Heart Foundation, inspires and helps people who want to quit smoking and this year smokers are being urged to ‘Swap fags for swag’ and consider the financial benefits of quitting.
Leading Scottish employment law, HR and health and safety firm, Empire, is advising businesses to use this campaign to encourage employees to give up the bad habit as it could be costing their business more than they think.
Health and safety manager at Empire, Gill Hutchinson said: “This is a perfect opportunity for employers to help their workers to give up smoking. It has been found that smokers are taking on average two or three more sick days a year than their non-smoking colleagues, so helping employees to quit their bad habit could not only improve the profitability of your business but also boost the health of your workforce at the same time. Campaigns like these make you realise how much time employees are taking off work and the lengthy cigarette breaks they may be taking on your time.”
Getting the workplace involved in a no smoking campaign is not only a great opportunity to promote an important health message in the office, it will also encourage employees to quit as a group resulting in them supporting and motivating each other. It will also help to improve workplace productivity and time management if employees are spending less time on cigarette breaks and less time off sick.
This year the campaign is aiming to get smokers to consider the financial savings they will gain if they stop smoking. Research has shown, if smokers quit for one day, they would save £7, for a week they would save £49, in a month they could save £210 and in a year it would be a huge saving of £2,555. Empire says it is in an employers interest to help create a happy working environment and these figures may give your employees the help and support they need.
The HR firm recommends employers to include smoking policies in your employee handbooks to establish details such as the authorised smoking areas outside the building and if cigarette breaks for staff are permitted. It is also useful to assess how smoking colleagues work with non-smoking colleague, for example, shared transportation used for work purposes.
Here are some practical tips to help your employees stop smoking:
- Make a date to give up – As a workplace, setting a target date will help your employees to work towards the goal together. Help your employees by throwing away all your tobacco, lighters and ashtrays.
- Make a plan- Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine-replacement product, and have it ready before the date you plan to stop.
- Think smart -and visit the information websites such as www.nosmokingday.org,uk for detailed information about different methods for stopping smoking.
- Get support- Giving up smoking with your work colleagues will help as you can share the experience together and support each other throughout. It will also be useful to let your family and friends know that you’re quitting. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful. You can also talk to your doctor, practice nurse, pharmacist about what support is available to you.
- Keep busy- Keeping busy at work will help to take your mind off the cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy your lunch and cigarettes. Prepare your lunch the night before so you can prevent going to the shop.
- Treat yourself- If you can, use the money you’re saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special such as saving up for a weekend away or even a holiday.
To find out more on how Empire can help your business address any HR and health & safety issue, please contact us on 01224 701383 or visit www.empirehr.com.
Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of Empire