Even Smokers Support Bans at Work

FRIDAY Nov. 20, 2009 -- Most smokers around the world support workplace smoking bans, according to a new study.

Researchers surveyed more than 3,500 employees who smoke and more than 1,400 employers (smokers and nonsmokers) in the United States and 13 other countries. They found that 74 percent of employees who smoke and 87 percent of employers said the workplace should be smoke-free.

"Although there was widespread variation among countries, overall the results demonstrate global support for workplace smoking bans," lead author Michael Halpern, a senior fellow at RTI International, said in a news release. "This study shows support for additional programs and policies to increase those bans and assist employees with smoking cessation."

Support for workplace smoking bans was greatest in India (85 percent) and Japan (75 percent), and much lower in Germany (33 percent) and Poland (37 percent).

Even though they smoked an average of one hour a day at work, nearly 70 percent of workers didn't think their smoking had a negative financial impact on their employer, compared with about half of employers.

"Several previous studies indicate that despite the beliefs of smoking employees and some employers in our study, smoking does have a substantial negative impact on a business' finances," Halpern said. "More research needs to be done to quantify the economic impacts of workplace smoking and educate both employers and employees on those effects."

The study was published online Oct. 29 in the International Journal of Public Health.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the health benefits of smoking bans.

Posted: November 2009


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