Smokers are more likely to quit when they have the help of family, friends and health care professionals. Quitting isn’t just about overcoming addiction − it’s also a major lifestyle change. For most smokers, tobacco is part of their daily lives, and it has been for a long time. Successfully quitting means changing old habits and rituals that used to be associated with tobacco, such as coffee breaks, commutes, post-meals, parties, and so on. Family and friends can help make those changes easier.
Quitting tobacco can be hard, and many quitters need help. If approached in the correct way, your loved ones may be more open to your thoughts and feelings about why they should quit tobacco. It’s important to empathize while not being judgmental; but at the same time, not enabling smokers to continue their addiction. Expressing pride, optimism and understanding is a major source of positive reinforcement in helping people quit.
While the decision to quit lies with the individual, as part of someone’s support system, you can have a great impact on his or her success. The tips below can help you help others. However, there is no set list of rules and guidelines on how to help someone quit tobacco. Some ideas will work while others may not, and every person’s journey to becoming tobacco-free is different.
Pressuring someone to quit may only push them further away from the idea. Let them know you’re there for encouragement and support if and when they need it.
Always remember that nicotine is extremely addictive.
Remind them that quitting is not impossible. In fact, there are more former smokers than current smokers in the US.
Don’t preach or lecture about the health effects of tobacco. Most tobacco users already know that it’s bad for them.
Smokers must be accountable for themselves.
Ultimatums usually don’t work.
If they have tried to quit in the past but weren’t successful, encourage them to try again. With your help, they might do it.
Let them know that it can take the average person anywhere from two to 11 attempts before successfully quitting for good.
Resources to help your employees quit using tobacco is the single most effective health benefit you can provide.
Tobacco use results in huge costs to the state as a whole and to employers in particular. Smokers consume more health care resources, experience greater absenteeism and tend to be less productive while at work. The estimated costs to the health care system for treating smoking-related illness are more than $369 million in Utah alone.
Average workers’ compensation costs for a smoker are $2,189 each year. Average workers’ compensation costs for a nonsmoker are much less, at $176 annually.
Fire insurance is commonly reduced 25 to 50 percent in smoke-free businesses.
Employees can file lawsuits against your company if they feel that they are being exposed to secondhand smoke. Being a smoke-free business and helping employees quit smoking reduces potential legal fees and eliminates claims based on violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Tobacco cessation reduces your employees’ risk of getting lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and upper respiratory infections − all helping to reduce health care costs.
Smokers miss an average of 6.2 days of work each year. Nonsmokers miss only 3.9 days of work annually. Being smoke-free also reduces disability time by 2.5 years for men and 1.9 years for women.
Fewer smoke breaks means increased productivity. Plus, your company will become more attractive to future employees, since most Utahns don’t smoke.
According to studies, at any given time, 75 percent of adult smokers in Utah want to quit in the coming year, and more than 60 percent have tried to quit in the previous year. By making simple changes to your work environment, you can improve the health of your employees and save your company money.
As an employer, here are three things you can do to help your employees quit tobacco:
Show your employees you want to help them quit and that you understand the chronic nature of tobacco dependence by designing a benefit that makes quitting easier for them.
Studies show that the most effective tobacco cessation benefits cover all of the following:
The state of Utah provides free cessation services, such as a telephone quit line and an interactive, social website. Encourage your employees to use these resources when trying to quit.
Utah Tobacco Quit Line: Employees can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to speak with a trained coach who can help them develop a personal quit plan. All calls are free and confidential. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Hours of operation are 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here to learn more.
Online coaching is designed to support tobacco users throughout their quitting process. It is available 24/7, and includes interactive exercises, a personalized quit plan, medication support, social support community, progress trackers and proactive email messages. Those who enroll for the service will receive lifetime access. It’s free and confidential. Click here to learn more.
A tobacco-free workplace makes good business sense and creates a supportive setting for employees who want to quit using tobacco. To successfully transition to a tobacco-free environment, develop a written policy and ensure that all employees and visitors are aware of it.
For a complete, step-by-step guide to helping you create a tobacco-free policy for your company, download the Keep Your Business Healthy: A Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy Toolkit. This toolkit explains the benefits of a tobacco-free environment in the workplace and outlines what you can do as an employer to help your employees quit using tobacco and protect your workers from secondhand smoke.
To learn more about how tobacco-free policies can benefit your company, visit Tobacco Free Utah. On this website, you will find information about these topics: