Employee and employer support for workplace-based smoking cessation: Results from an international survey
Objectives: Workplace smoking cessation programs can increase smoking cessation rates, improve employee health, reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, and decrease costs. To assist with the development of such programs, we conducted a Global Workplace Smoking Survey to collect information on workplace attitudes towards smoking cessation programs. Methods: Data were collected from 1,403 employers (smoking and non-smoking) and 3,525 smoking employees participating in surveys in 14 countries in Asia, Europe, and South America in 2007. Results were weighted to ensure that they were representative of smokers and employers at companies with the specified number of employees. Results: More than two-thirds of employers (69%) but less than half of employees (48%) indicated that their company should help employees with smoking cessation. Approximately two-thirds of employees and 81% of employers overall felt that smoke-free policies encourage cessation, but fewer individuals from Europe (vs. from Asia or South America) agreed with this. In companies with a smoke-free policy, 76% of employees and 80% of employers felt that their policy had been somewhat, very, or extremely effective in motivating employees to quit or reduce smoking. Employers and employees differed substantially regarding appropriate methods for encouraging cessation, with more employees favouring financial incentives and more employers favouring education. Conclusions: Both employees and employers value smoke-free workplace programs and workplace cessation support activities, although many would like their companies to offer more support. These results will be useful for organizations exploring means of facilitating smoking cessation amongst employees.