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Smoking in the Workplace

Personnel policies may prohibit or restrict smoking just as they prohibit or restrict alcohol use and other behaviors, Smoking restrictions are not the basis of discrimination, because smoking is not an inherent characteristic, such as race, sex or national origin. If a union contract contains specific language permitting smoking, then the, matter should be submitted to the collective bargaining procedure to establish compliance with the law.

Policy Implementation:

Before policy enactment dates, it is advisable to distribute copies to all employees to provide time to discuss the policy and answer questions. Emphasis should be place(' on the fact that the smoking control policy clearly is in support of nonsmokers' rights and that the policy is based on legal mandates.

The company's concern for the health of its employees can be emphasized Educational programs can focus on the health hazards caused by smoking, the adverse affects of smoking at work, positive ways of dealing with these problems, and the benefits of quitting. Company publications, bulletin boards, posters, and special presentations can be used to increase employees awareness. Distributing 'self-help" suggestions, behavioral substitute lists, and providing announcements of access to smoking cessation programs will reinforce the point that the company is interested' in helping employees who smoke to change their behavior,

Policy Enforcement:

Supervisors should be directly. responsible for policy implementation and enforcement. Control measures should accommodate individual preference as much as possible. Accommodation efforts may include: separating employees who smoke into designated areas, posting certain times for smoking; or permitting employees who smoke to leave their work stations for "cigarette" breaks, Al employee complaints should be directed to an immediate supervisor. Supervisors have the responsibility ol counseling non compliant employees, Supervisors and employees should attempt to resolve noncompliance and establish acceptable behaviors, Employees who con tinue to be non compliant can be assigned to attend educational programs.
Because it may not always be practical for an employee to complain to the supervisor, complaint or grievance procedures can be included in the employee handbook or policy manual. Policy enforcement is most equitable when all employees participate in its implementation.

Policy Evaluation:

Although the law does not require it, the Department of Health recommends an assessment of the impact of a company's policy. This will be helpful in deciding whether or not modifications are needed after implementation.
Companies are encouraged to voluntarily share their experiences with the Department of Health so that other New Jersey businesses can be informed of and benefit from actual experiences.