As we pause this Labor Day weekend to pay tribute to the contributions of workers to the strength and prosperity of our country, let’s not forget the degree to which workers’ health determines the extent and longevity of their ability to contribute. And let’s not forget the degree to which a tobacco-free lifestyle determines a worker’s health.

One of the most powerful impacts an employer can have on ensuring worker health is in establishing strong, comprehensive tobacco-free policies for their worksites and providing robust cessation support to enable their tobacco-using employees to quit.
Businesses without strong smoke-free policies lose money in higher health insurance costs and lost productivity alike. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average annual healthcare expenditures for a tobacco user are $3,300 higher ($11,980) than those of a non-tobacco-user ($8,680). In productivity, for every smoker who spends an hour a day smoking, a business will lose an average of 10 work days of productivity annually.

Smokers and nonsmokers work side-by-side every day, building our communities and providing for their families. Over one-fifth (21.2%) of adults in Allen county are tobacco smokers. Until we have strong tobacco-free policies to protect all employees and clients in all workplaces–including restaurants, bars and off-track betting facilities–Allen County workers will be subjected to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, damaging their health and leading to missed days of work. No worker in Allen County should have to choose to put their health at risk to put food on the table.

I encourage everyone to reach out to employers, council members, friends and family to push for 100% tobacco-free workplaces and homes. Let’s make Allen County Indiana’s MOST healthy place to live and work!

Nancy Cripe
Tobacco Education Coordinator
Tobacco Free Allen County

POSTED: 08/30/14 at 2:45 pm. FILED UNDER: Opinions