Federal agencies Workplace exposures

NIOSH calls for all workplaces to be smoke-free

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Atlanta, GA – All employers should make their workplaces tobacco-free and offer tobacco-cessation programs, NIOSH states in a bulletin released April 2.

In Promoting Health and Preventing Disease and Injury Through Workplace Tobacco Policies, NIOSH recommends that workplaces, at a minimum, should be smoke-free in all indoor areas, areas immediately outside the building entrances and air intakes, and all work vehicles. Ideally, all tobacco use would be prohibited throughout the workplace. The institute’s recommendations also extend to electronic cigarettes.

Personal tobacco use and exposure to smoking in the workplace has long been associated with adverse health effects, and can increase the likelihood and severity of occupational diseases caused by other hazards in the workplace, according to NIOSH.

To help employees who currently use tobacco products, employers should provide tobacco-related health risk information to all workers (including contractors and volunteers) and offer employer-provided and publicly available cessation services. The cessation support should be offered at no or a subsidized cost, and extended to workers’ dependents, NIOSH recommends.

Most states in the country and several municipalities have indoor smoking bans for the workplace, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, but those laws do not necessarily cover all workplaces.