2019 World No Tobacco Day

2019 World No Tobacco Day

Every year, the World Health Organization and its partners recognize May 31st as World No Tobacco Day. This year’s theme is tobacco and lung health, which highlights the harmful effects of tobacco use on lung health; whether it’s cancer or other chronic respiratory diseases. It also focuses on the importance of lungs to an individual’s overall health and well-being.

Why should employers care?

The answer is simple. Healthy employees equal a healthy and productive business. Employees that use tobacco are absent from work more often and are less productive while at work. They also see physicians more and are hospitalized longer than their non-smoking counterparts.

Tobacco kills up to half of its users and is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide.1 Approximately 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low and middle-income countries,1 where many global employers have a significant employee presence.

What can employers do? 

Employers can influence the smoking behaviors of employees. Companies have the power to directly or indirectly encourage employees to quit and help them successfully do so. Actions employers can take include:

  • Enacting policies for smoke-free workplaces and campuses
  • Offering smoking cessation programs and providing incentives for engagement

Instituting these actions will help increase employee productivity; decrease medical benefit utilization; lower health, life and disability insurance costs; and reduce fire risks at the workplace.

References

  1. World Health Organization. Tobacco Fact Sheet. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco. Accessed May 1, 2019.

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