Forum: Firms can offer incentives for staff to quit smoking

Smoking cessation is one of the Ministry of Health's key areas of focus in tobacco control, as it redoubles its efforts to promote healthier lifestyles.

Perhaps we could look to global best practices for innovative solutions to boost smoking cessation.

An American news report highlighted one marketing firm in Japan offering non-smoking staff an additional six days in annual leave to make up for the time smokers take for smoke breaks at work.

Not long after the company introduced this new policy, intended to encourage staff to quit smoking, four of the company's 42 employees who smoked gave up the habit.

Neuroscience suggests that when it comes to motivating action, rewards may be more effective than punishments.

Companies in Singapore could take a leaf from the book of this successful workplace cessation programme to incentivise their staff to quit smoking.

This would not only increase the productivity rate (no more smoke breaks) and cut healthcare expenditure due to smoking-related diseases, but more importantly, also help the move towards a healthier Singapore.

Liu I-Chun

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