Engage the business sector to promote smoke-free corporate culture through industry-oriented programmes
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Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, Hong Kong
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A623
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Background and challenges to implementation:
The labour force participation rate is over 60 percent in Hong Kong and most of the employees spend 8 to 10 hours daily in their workplaces. “Most friends/ colleagues were smokers” was one of the most commonly cited reasons for failing to give up smoking. Smoking causes HK$5.3 billion economic loss per year in Hong Kong, including loss of productivity due to premature death, costs of sick leaves, health care costs and nursing costs. However, corporates seldom put tobacco control or smoke-free promotion at the top of their agenda.

Intervention or response:
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health urged the business sector to help promote smoke-free corporate culture through the Hong Kong Smoke-free Leading Company Awards and industry-oriented programmes which assisted corporates in setting up smoke-free policies and measures to promote smoking cessation among their stakeholders to foster an all-win situation for employees, employers and the society.

Results and lessons learnt:
The Awards in 2011, 2013 and 2016 solicited support from over 80 commerce chambers and industry associations and mobilized around 1,000 corporates from a variety of industries to join, including large companies, small and medium enterprises, government departments and non-governmental organizations, benefiting over 175,000 employees and other stakeholders, including the public.
Four major construction industry associations supported and referred around 40 companies to join the industry-oriented smoke-free programme launched in 2016, reaching over 16,000 industry workers whose smoking prevalence was over 40 percent. Outstanding companies were commemorated for their effective smoke-free measures and set as industry role models.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
It is important to engage and empower different sectors of the community to maximize the impact and effectiveness of smoke-free promotion and tobacco control. Support from industry associations was crucial to raise awareness and boost participation of the business sector. Guidelines and industry-specific promotion collaterals shall be provided to facilitate companies in planning and implementing smoke-free policies.

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