Smoking is a Workplace Problem!
7 million - that's 23% - South African adults smoke tobacco. We have a serious smoking problem and it has progressed to being a workplace problem affecting business, because 89% of smokers need a cigarette every 1-2 hours to function effectively!
There is increasing pressure from government to eliminate smoking in the workplace. Companies are balancing being legally compliant and accommodating smokers.
Estimating the Cost of Smoking in Your Workplace:
1. Increased absenteeism
Smokers take, on average, three more sick days from work every year than non-smokers. Occupational Care South Africa (OCSA) estimated that productivity lost due to absenteeism cost the South African economy R 12 billion (2009).
DAYS LOST Smoker × DAILY WAGE = COST Absent
A monthly salary of R8000
3 days x R400 = R1200 per smoker per year.
2. Decreased productivity
Employees should not be smoking in enclosed public spaces and they must therefore travel to another location. Many smokers deny the time wasted smoking because they do not include walking to the smoking area, chatting and other distractions that occur in the process of going for a cigarette.
The average hourly wage, combined with payroll taxes and benefits, is used to calculate the cost of extra smoking breaks to employers using the following formula:
COST = CIGS × (TIME ÷ MINUTES) × WAGE Average × DAYS WORKED
2 × (40) × R50 (hourly rate) × DAYS WORKED (240) = R8 000,00 per year, per smoker earning R8 000,00
(Please be aware that this is an example of the cost the actual figure may vary with each individual smoker. An accurate cost will be determined once the data becomes available through the needs analysis.)
3. Smoking facilities' costs
Most organisations do not install expensive outdoor shelters but some do install industrial ashtrays outside.
The cost to employers is for smoking facilities including purchasing and replacing a number of commercial ashtrays and cleaning them as well as the surrounding area.
4. Smokers pay more for health insurance
On average, smokers will typically pay 15-20% higher premiums than non-smokers with equivalent demographics and health conditions. When you pay medical aids for smokers, you are paying 15-20% higher premiums.
The GOOD NEWS is that over 72% of South African smokers want to stop and 46 percent of smokers make an attempt each year. Supporting employees to stop smoking is an sound financial investment with a great rate of return!
SMOKE-FREE Workplace Cessation Plan
- Goals and objectives - What do you want to achieve and why?
- An inventory of available resources - Including what resources are available in the workplace.
- A needs assessment - Ask employees what do they want.
- Engage the Stake Holders: Who is involved? Identify and get buy-in from all stakeholders that could be affected.
- Activities -What are you going to do? When, where and how.
- Communication - Including to whom, how often, and how.
- Evaluation – Establish whether you have met your goals and objectives. What do we need to do differently to increase our success.