workplace wellness office

Study: Workplace Efforts to Stop Smoking May Carry Over to Home

We have noted that a key strength of a well-run workplace wellness program is that the good health habits don’t stop at work.

We cited a  Washington Post piece that highlights the point::

“Many people struggle to reach their health and wellness goals. They cling to diet and exercise fads but overlook the importance of planning in creating consistent habits. A lack of planning can have a snowball effect: You start your morning tired from a poor night’s sleep, then skip exercise and miss breakfast while rushing out of the house. Lunches at restaurants are typically heavier than those made at home, but packing a lunch isn’t an option if you haven’t planned for it. Sugar and caffeine cravings may be elevated all day due to fatigue from poor sleep. The whole day feels hectic because it started off stressed and rushed. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Now a new report indicates a potentially significant finding: The same trend may be true with smoking.

MedPage Today reports that “Smokers Aren’t Lighting Up More at Home Because of Workplace Bans.”

The post states: “Smokers who can no longer light up at work or public spaces due to comprehensive smoke-free bans do not appear to be compensating by smoking more at home in the presence of their children.”

In other words: Workplace smoking bans — including help from workplace wellness programs that focus on smoking cessation — do not seem to encourage smokers to then smoke more at home. Instead, the good health habits practiced at work may carry over to the house.

The study is titled “Impact of Comprehensive Smoking Bans on the Health of Infants and Children” and is published in The National Bureau of Economic Research.

The post continues: “We do not find any evidence that adults are shifting their smoking behaviors to inside the home where children may be present,” the researchers wrote. “If anything, we find significant evidence of a decrease in the likelihood that smoking occurs inside the home among households with children, consistent with an overall reduction in the additive stock and an overall reduction in smoking behavior.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation economist and researcher Kerry Anne McGeary, PhD — one of the study authors — is quoted by MedPage Today: “When seat-belt laws were enacted, people began to change their driving behaviors. The laws conveyed the information that driving is a risky thing to do. We may be seeing something similar with regard to behavioral response to smoke-free laws.”