According to the 1985 Surgeon General's report on The Health Consequences of Smoking: Cancer and Chronic Lung Disease in the Workplace, the combination of smoking with exposure to HAZARDSOUS SUBSTANCES at the workplace presents a serious health risk. As explained in the 1979 Surgeon General's report on smoking and health, cigarette smoking can
  • transform existing chemicals into more harmful ones,
  • increase exposure to existing toxic chemicals,
  • add to the biological effects caused by certain chemicals, and
  • interact synergistically with existing chemicals.

    For example, the health effects of smoking and workplace exposure to asbestos are greater than the sum of the risks of serperate exposures. For most workers who smoke, however, cigarette smoking is a greater cause of death and disability than any hazard in the workplace.


    Corporate image is important for many businesses. With nonsmokers accounting for about 75% of adult American consumers of goods and services, it is easy to see why many campanies and organizations implement smokefree sites to influence consumers' opinions of the company.

    For example, to demostrate its commitment to providing a pleasant and safe dining environment, in 1994 McDonald's implemented smokefree environments it its 1,400 corporate-owned resaurants. Another service industry, Delta Airlines, banned smoking on all flights beginning January 1, 1995.

    Such actions can improve a corporate image not only in the marketplace but also in hiring. Companies that demonstrate concern for the health and well being of their workforce are more likely to be able to recruit and retain high-quality employees.

    Because so many worksites are already smokefree, employers who have not instituted smokefree policies need to consider COMPLYING WITH COMMUNITY STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS.

  • "Health issues provide ample justification for restricting environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure at the worksite. But there are other good BUSINESS reasons. Instituting smokefree work environments can reduce costs for cleaning and maintaing facilities and equipment and improve employee morale. "Smokefree" does not mean "anti-smoker."

    Michael P. Eriksen, ScD
    Director, Office on Smoking and Health
    National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention