National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Workplace Tobacco Management Project Research Findings (Evaluation) Report by Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT

Barriers and enablers to policy development and implementation

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This section provides the results of staff feedback into what enablers and barriers were present within the sites and what impacts these had amongst staff and service users.

Health focus
Staff identified improvements in health and having a healthier workplace as a mostly enabling issue in the policy process, even recognizing the impact that it might have in not being able to smoke with clients:

“Healthier although miss smoking with the clients”

“Setting good environment, improving staff's health”

“The staff won't die of lung cancer”

“Decrease in tobacco consumption and therefore an increase in overall health”

Smoking as paid or unpaid work time, insurance issues and staff productivity

Staff said that as a result of the policy development and implementation process, smoking becomes an unpaid break, which had both a negative and positive effect. There also continued to be some uncertainty about whether smoking was paid or unpaid:

“Makes people more aware of their smoking, regulates smoking in the work place”

“Regulates breaks and productivity in the workplaceʼ”

ʻThe major issue I believe is time management, is a smoke break paid for ? Is this remuneration across the board for all staff, does work cover apply if I'm off the floor to have a smokeʼ

“Difficult to implement when staff work on shift alone especially unpaid lunch breaks”

“Unpaid breaks and need to extend/make up hours, offsite or approved smoking areas challenging”


Some staff saw the reduction of smoking behaviour and limits of smoking with clients in particular as improving staff professionalism.

“Increase professionalism as staff not able to smoke with consumers”

Stress reduction and loss of informal networks

There was some lamenting by some about losing what was considered a valuable part of the workplace where staff could come together and debrief or relive stress.

“Less time spent with staff debriefing whilst smoking and non-smoking staff missing the conversation”

“People seem to enjoy the stress break they get from smoking”

“Loss of informal networking/discussions with clients & staff from our service and others”


Overwhelmingly staff saw the policy implementation as limiting of their choice to smoke.

ʻStaff feel supported to manage their use of tobaccoʼ

“Believe there should be freedom of choice, believe that choice is being taken away”

“Just the limits on adults being given the ability to make informed decisions”

“Staff feel like this is a punitive measure”

“Restrictions placed on work time; restrictions on personal choice”

“Too many people smoke too much. However, there's only so far you can and should interfere with free will”

Impacts for clients

What could also be considered unintended consequences is that most staff saw the policy introduction as a positive. Particularly when clients were seeking support to quit and when staff were modeling positive behaviour towards clients.

“More clients asking for support for smoking cessation due to staff not smoking with them”

“Staff not smoking or at least attempting to quit is great role modeling for client to think differently about quit programs”

“Women smoking a bit less”

“More conversations re clients outcomes, NRT, and reducing”

“Not being able to smoke with the service users”

Designated smoking areas

Designated areas were contentious and were identified as barriers by staff to the policy development process.

“Deciding on designated smoking areas has been difficult because of working in a high rise environment with food outlets all around”

“Different opinion on where is appropriate area”

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