Quality statement 4: Workplace policy

Quality statement

Employers allow employees to access evidence‑based 'stop smoking' support during working hours without loss of pay.

Rationale

Many employers already have a policy outlining support to help employees to quit smoking. However, in practice, employees find it difficult to get time off to access 'stop smoking' services when needed. NHS and local authority employers should set an example in implementing this quality statement.

Evidence shows that people who smoke take an average of 30 minutes in cigarette breaks within business hours each day. A typical 'stop smoking' intervention lasts 30 minutes, once a week for the first 4 weeks after the quit attempt, then less frequently for a further 8 weeks. By enabling employees to access 'stop smoking' services, employers are likely to realise substantial benefits, such as increased productivity, decreased sickness rates and improved adherence to smokefree policies. More details about the economic gains for the employers can be found using NICE's tobacco return on investment tool.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of HR policies that allow employees to access 'stop smoking' support during working hours without loss of pay.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

a) Proportion of employees who wanted to access 'stop smoking' support during working hours and did so.

Numerator – The number in the denominator who accessed 'stop smoking' support during working hours.

Denominator – The number of employees who wanted to access 'stop smoking' support during working hours.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Proportion of employees who accessed 'stop smoking' support during working hours without loss of pay.

Numerator – The number in the denominator who did not lose pay.

Denominator – The number of employees who accessed 'stop smoking' support during working hours.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for commissioners

Commissioners of 'stop smoking' services ensure that there is capacity within the 'stop smoking' services to deliver support to employers who want to help their employees to stop smoking.

What the quality statement means for employers and employees

All employers encourage employees who smoke (including students, apprentices and volunteers) to access 'stop smoking' support. They facilitate employees to access 'stop smoking' services by allowing them to attend during working hours without loss of pay. Employers may choose to organise on‑site 'stop smoking' services if that is feasible.

Employees who smoke can attend 'stop smoking' services during working hours, without losing pay.

What the quality statement means for managers of 'stop smoking' services

'Stop smoking' services proactively engage with local businesses by offering their support and promoting their services. In particular, they target businesses with high numbers of staff working in routine and manual jobs. This may mean that 'stop smoking' services are provided on site and there is increased demand on the service.

Source guidance

Smoking: workplace interventions (2007) NICE guideline PH5, recommendations 1 and 5

Equality and diversity considerations

Smoking is significantly more prevalent among people in routine and manual occupations. Targeting businesses that employ large numbers of people who work in routine and manual jobs has a potential to make a substantial difference.

Reducing smoking among people who are not employed is not specifically addressed by current guidelines, but smoking prevalence in this group is high. 'Stop smoking' services, Job Centre Plus and other organisations working with people who are unemployed have an opportunity to work together to enable people who are not employed to access 'stop smoking' services.