Smoking cessation in the workplace

Occup Med (Lond). 2013 Dec;63(8):526-36. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqt107.


Background: The workplace is an important setting for reaching potentially large numbers of smokers.

Aims: To review the evidence about smoking cessation in the workplace.

Methods: Literature review including a synthesis of findings from recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses of workplace smoking cessation programmes, a separate review of the qualitative evidence, case studies and an expert panel assessment.

Results: We found advantages, identified or confirmed from the mixed methods used in this work to holding smoking cessation programmes in the workplace. These included: (i) easy access to large numbers of worker populations for large workplaces, (ii) the potential improved recruitment to such programmes given this, (iii) the opportunity to access young men, traditionally difficult to achieve, (iv) access to occupational health and other staff who can assist with support and delivery and (v) ability for workers to attend relatively easily. Evidence on the importance of developing peer support at work was mixed. The simple provision or availability of programmes and interventions was unlikely to provide any beneficial behaviour change. Interventions should target workers that actively want to stop smoking, use elements that workers have identified as useful or focus on altering beliefs about smoking and the need to stop.

Conclusions: Smoking cessation programmes at work can provide useful support for workers wishing to stop smoking. They are only likely to be effective if participants have moved beyond the contemplation stage regarding smoking cessation, so that stopping smoking is a personal priority.

Keywords: Case studies; cessation; focus group; qualitative; review; smoking; work..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workplace*