NIOSH

NIOSH Wants All Workplaces Smoke Free

This is NIOSH's first time to issue recommendations on e-cigarettes; NIOSH recommends that they be included in indoor smoking bans.

A new NIOSH report recommends that all workplaces become tobacco free and also that employers should make tobacco cessation programs available to their employees. The recommendations also cover the use of e-cigarettes, saying workers should be protected from their emissions, as well. This is NIOSH's first time to issue recommendations on e-cigarettes; NIOSH recommends that they be included in indoor smoking bans.

The recommendations are in a technical document called a Current Intelligence Bulletin. They build on previous recommendations regarding tobacco use in the workplace and incorporate the public comments on an earlier draft document.

"This Current Intelligence Bulletin marks a half century since the first Surgeon General's Report on the health consequences of smoking. While cigarette smoking in the U.S. has declined more than 50 percent among all U.S. adults since then, about 20 percent of all U.S. workers still smoke, and far too many non-smoking workers are still exposed to secondhand smoke at work," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. "These new recommendations are an important step in reducing the number workers who still face the risks associated with tobacco while on the job."

The agency recommends that employers take these actions:

  • At a minimum, establish and maintain smoke-free workplaces and offer tobacco cessation support programs. Smoke-free zones should encompass 1) all indoor areas without exceptions (i.e., no indoor smoking areas of any kind, even if separately enclosed and/or ventilated), 2) all areas immediately outside building entrances and air intakes, and 3) all work vehicles. Additionally, ashtrays should be removed from these areas.
  • Allow no use of any tobacco product across the entire workplace campus.
  • Comply with current OSHA and MSHA regulations that prohibit or limit smoking, smoking materials, and/or use of other tobacco products in work areas characterized by the presence of explosive or highly flammable materials or potential exposure to toxic materials. And, to the extent feasible, follow all similar NIOSH recommendations.
  • Provide information on tobacco-related health risks and on benefits of quitting to all employees and other workers at the work site, such as contractors and volunteers.
  • Make sure all workers, including workers who use tobacco and non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at their workplace, know the occupational safety and health risks associated with their work, including those that can be made worse by personal tobacco use, and how to limit those risks.
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