News and Events

Local Employers Benefit from Adoption of Tobacco Free Workplace Policies
November 21, 2019

A growing trend finds workplaces making big strides in supporting the health and well-being of their employees by adopting tobacco free workplaces and providing cessation resources to employees who use tobacco.

Locally, a good example in the county would be the Gilchrist County School District, which provides a tobacco free workplace, and supports their employees’ efforts to quit smoking by providing cessation resources to their employees. They are also able to use insurance benefits for cessation support such as nicotine replacement medications and doctor’s visits for support. Additionally, the district has advertised the Quit Your Way Program to employees during the Great American Smoke Out to further encourage the benefits of a tobacco free lifestyle.

Promoting cessation to employees is just one of the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida’s twelve gold standards for school tobacco policy. These twelve standards provide for reduction of youth and adult tobacco and nicotine use and encourage tobacco free social norms. Some of the twelve standards include: tobacco is specifically named in the policy, not implied by prohibiting drugs, wearing clothing or using other items that advertise or promote tobacco products is prohibited, and school staff are prohibited from using tobacco products on school grounds and at school events, whether on or off school district property.

One of the primary reasons an employer chooses to adopt a tobacco free workplace is the high cost associated with tobacco use at work.  Pack-a-day smokers are estimated to have 75% more lost productive time during the work day than their non-smoking co-workers, and healthcare costs are an average of 34% higher than those who do not use tobacco. (Estimating the cost of a smoking employee, 2013) In Florida, the average loss in productivity annually for a tobacco user at the workplace is $4,056.  The average extra medical expense for tobacco users is $2,056 (1).

Tobacco Free Grounds policies also support employees in their attempts to quit, helping them to change their habits and avoid temptations to smoke.

In November, several local employers promoted cessation by participating in the Great American Smoke Out. During this observance, Gilchrist County, Gilchrist County School District, and Palms Medical Group in Trenton all provided information to employees about the effects of nicotine and ways to kick the habit, including Quit Your Way information. This is a free service provided through Tobacco Free Florida which connects people to quit counselors via phone, text, computer, or through in-person groups.

For more information about the twelve gold standards for school tobacco policy, or adopting a tobacco free workplace, visit or contact To learn more about the Quit Your Way program, visit

(1) Berman M., Crane R., Seiber E., & Munur M. (2013). Estimating the cost of a smoking employee. Tobacco Control. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050888