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Solving the problem of smoking in the Polish enterprises during 2003–2015

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (National Centre for Workplace Health Promotion)
Objectives: Tobacco smoking is a major organizational, economical, and public relations-related (PR-related) problem for the company. Moreover, it is an important health determinant of the working population. The paper reports the results of the research which analyzed the current state and the tobacco control activities’ transformations undertaken by Polish employers between 2003 and 2015. Material and Methods: Data comes from the research performed in 2006, 2010 and 2015, involving random- selected representative samples of Polish enterprises, employing no fewer than 50 employees. The sampling pattern covered location and classification of activities (excluding public administration, national defense, social security, education, health care and social assistance sectors). Consecutive interviews were conducted with representatives of 611, 1002 and 1000 companies, respectively. Results: The companies improved their compliance with the national regulations on smoking in the workplace. The strategy for limiting smoking in public places resulted in a steady increase in the number of companies (11%, 23%, 38%, respectively) that introduced smoking ban. Approximately in every second company, smoking was allowed only in the smoking room or outdoors. Voluntary activities (e.g., education and support for employees wishing to cease smoking) were very rarely undertaken by medium and large companies (several percent) and since 2010, when the law had become more restrictive, such tendency reinforced. Employers also were seldom interested in the prevalence of tobacco smoking among their personnel, its consequences for the company’s functioning and the effectiveness of the implemented tobacco control measures. Conclusions: National anti-smoking policy caused that companies were more focused on smoking-bans at the expense of education and support for those who wanted to cease smoking. Although this contributes to reducing secondary smoking in the workplace, the companies’ potential to become a major agent for tobacco control policies is neglected while the downward trend of smoking in the Polish society has slowed down. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2018;31(3)
Elżbieta Korzeniowska   
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, National Centre for Workplace Health Promotion, św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź, Poland