Introducing tobacco free workplace policy in workplaces in India - challenges and learning
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Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, India
Salaam Bombay Foundation, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A865
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Background and challenges to implementation:
While smoking is prohibited in India in public places and indoor workplaces, there is no regulation about smokeless tobacco use in workplaces as per the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act. Very few companies in India have a documented tobacco free workplace policy addressing smokeless tobacco use.
Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation was selected for implementing Clinton Global Initiative's Tobacco free workplace policy challenge project focusing on India and including smokeless tobacco use. Five workplaces in Maharashtra with total 5000 employees were approached to be a part of this project.

Intervention or response:
Activities involved a situational analysis, provision of cessation service and formulation and implementation of a policy document according to the guidelines "Smokefree-in-a-box" toolkit developed by the Global Smokefree Partnership.

Results and lessons learnt:
The policy was launched and implemented in only one workplace during one year and 332 employees were provided cessation counselling.
Lessons learnt:
· Organizations are willing to get involved on a pilot basis in representative units and not willing to for the entire company.
· They are interested in the tobacco free policy from the point of view of employee wellness
· Organizations are not ready to commit for policy before the cessation services.
· Management employees are reluctant to enroll for the cessation services
· Coordination with a number of departments at the company level is required.
· Proper and effective communication to all employees regarding the tobacco free policy by the decision makers is required.
· Integration of tobacco free workplace activities with their internal processes (e.g. Ocuupational Health and Safety, Annual Medical Checkup etc.) ensures acceptability

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Implementing a tobacco-free workplace policy in India is required but challenging. It creates an environment conducive to behavioural change and cessation among employees. Integrating it with internal systems and effective communication from the decision makers makes it feasible to implement.

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