Model Policy for a Smokefree Workplace 2018-02-21T15:01:40+00:00

Model Policy for a Smokefree Workplace

ABC Company Smokefree Policy

ABC Company is dedicated to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive work environment for our employees.

The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, has concluded that (1) secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke; (2) exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer; (3) there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; and (4) establishing smokefree workplaces is the only effective way to ensure that secondhand smoke exposure does not occur in the workplace, because ventilation and other air cleaning technologies cannot completely control for exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.) According to the 2010 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease, even occasional exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful and low levels of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke lead to a rapid and sharp increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and stroke. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010.) According to the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress, secondhand smoke exposure causes stroke in nonsmokers. The report also found that since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from diseases caused by tobacco smoke. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.)

Numerous studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, and that breathing secondhand smoke (also known as environmental tobacco smoke) is a cause of disease in healthy nonsmokers, including heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute determined in 1999 that secondhand smoke is responsible for the early deaths of approximately 53,000 Americans annually. (National Cancer Institute (NCI), “Health effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke: the report of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 10,” Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (NCI), August 1999.)

The Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires that disabled persons have access to public places and workplaces, deems impaired respiratory function to be a disability. (Daynard, R.A., “Environmental tobacco smoke and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Nonsmokers’ Voice 15(1): 8-9.)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the risk of acute myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease associated with exposure to tobacco smoke is non-linear at low doses, increasing rapidly with relatively small doses such as those received from secondhand smoke or actively smoking one or two cigarettes a day, and has warned that all patients at increased risk of coronary heart disease or with known coronary artery disease should avoid all indoor environments that permit smoking. (Pechacek, Terry F.; Babb, Stephen, “Commentary: How acute and reversible are the cardiovascular risks of secondhand smoke?” British Medical Journal 328: 980-983, April 24, 2004.)

Unregulated high-tech smoking devices, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” closely resemble and purposefully mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat through an electronic ignition system. After testing a number of e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that various samples tested contained not only nicotine but also detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The FDA’s testing also suggested that “quality control processes used to manufacture these products are inconsistent or non-existent.” ([n.a.], “Summary of results: laboratory analysis of electronic cigarettes conducted by FDA,” Food and Drug Administration (FDA), July 22, 2009.) According to a more recent study, electronic cigarette emissions are made up of a high concentration of ultrafine particles, and the particle concentration is higher than in conventional tobacco cigarette smoke. (Fuoco, F.C.; Buonanno, G.; Stabile, L.; Vigo, P., “Influential parameters on particle concentration and size distribution in the mainstream of e-cigarettes,” Environmental Pollution 184: 523-529, January 2014.) Electronic cigarettes produce an aerosol or vapor of undetermined and potentially harmful substances, which may appear similar to the smoke emitted by traditional tobacco products. Their use in workplaces and public places where smoking of traditional tobacco products is prohibited creates concern and confusion and leads to difficulties in enforcing the smoking prohibitions.

Smoke-filled workplaces result in higher worker absenteeism due to respiratory disease, lower productivity, higher cleaning and maintenance costs, increased health insurance rates, and increased liability claims for diseases related to exposure to secondhand smoke.

In light of these findings, ABC Company shall be entirely smokefree effective ____________ [date].

Smoking, including the use of electronic smoking devices, hookahs, and marijuana, shall not be permitted in any enclosed company facility. Smoking shall also be prohibited in any outdoor company worksite where two or more employees are required to be in the course of their employment. This includes, without limitation, common work areas, auditoriums, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, elevators, hallways, medical facilities, cafeterias, employee lounges, stairs, restrooms, construction sites, temporary offices such as trailers, and vehicles. This policy applies to all employees, clients, contractors, and visitors.

Smoking shall also not be permitted [within a reasonable distance of 25 feet outside entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed facilities where smoking is prohibited or anywhere on the grounds of company facilities, including parking lots].

Copies of this policy shall be distributed to all employees. No Smoking signs shall be posted at entrances to all company facilities and at all applicable outdoor worksites.

This policy is being announced three months in advance in order to give smokers time to adapt to its restrictions and to facilitate a smooth transition to a smokefree environment. Those employees who smoke and would like to take this opportunity to quit are invited to participate in the cessation programs being offered by the company.

The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of both smokers and nonsmokers. All employees share in the responsibility for adhering to and enforcing this policy.


Signature of CEO or President



May be reprinted with appropriate credit to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
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