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Policy Option:  Voluntary Workplace Policies

Speaking Points

A survey of 17 states and the District of Columbia found that in 1999 the proportion of people who reported that their workplace had an official smokefree policy ranged from 61.3% to 82.1%; with a median of 73%.  As the respondents’ level of education increased, they were more likely to report working under a smokefree policy.93  

The proportion of respondents who reported in the Current Population Survey (CPS) that smoking was not permitted in either the public or work areas of their workplace increased from 46.5% in 1992-1993 to 63.7% in 1995-1996.94

Despite gains, more than 40 million nonsmoking U.S. workers are not covered by smokefree workplace policies.95  The least likely groups to be covered are teenagers, males, African-Americans, and blue-collar workers.96

A 1989 survey of 10 U.S. cities showed that support for restricting or banning smoking in the workplace ranged from 90% to 95%.97

Data collected by the Current Population Survey (CPS) in 1995/96 found that 62.6% of respondents favored completely smokefree indoor work areas.98

Compliance with workplace smoking policies is high.  A Bureau of National Affairs-Society for Human Resource Management study found that seven out of 10 companies with smokefree policies indicated that employees rarely or never violate smoking rules.99

93 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  State-specific prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults and the proportion of adults who work in a smoke-free environment – United States, 1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 49(43): 978-982. November 3, 2000.

94 Ibid, p. 981.

95 Gerlach, K., Shopland, D., Hartman, A., Gibson, J., & Pechacek, T.   Workplace smoking policies in the United States: Results from a national survey of over 100,000 workers.  Tobacco Control 6:199-206, 1997.

96 Ibid.

97 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public attitudes regarding limits on public smoking and regulation of tobacco sales and advertising – 10 U.S. Communities, 1989. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 40(21): 344+. May 31, 1991.

98 National Cancer Institute. State and Local Legislative Action to Reduce Tobacco Use. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph No. 11. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, NIH Pub. No. 00-4804, August 2000.

99 Bureau of National Affairs, SHRM-BNA Survey No. 55 Smoking in the Workplace:  1991.  Washington, DC:  BNA, August 29, 1991.

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