Top-down approach for a smoke-free workforce
A smoke-free workforce initiative that appeals to organization leaders and pioneers from top corporations to be directly involved in championing the cause for a healthier and smoke-free workforce has been launched locally.
The initiative is a first-of-its-kind smoking cessation initiative. Its target audience are adult smokers who are currently in the workforce. Working adults are important contributors to the economy and are every organization’s biggest asset. As such, making an effort to improve employee’s well-being will be a win-win situation for both the employees and company, said Chin Keat Chyuan, managing director of J&J Malaysia, who was speaking at the launch of the initiative. “At J&J, we are constantly dedicated to discovering ways to improve the health and quality of life. We understand that smokers need support and assistance to quit.”
J&J Malaysia’s efforts in the initiative include subsidizing pharmacotherapy starter kits, providing a health talk and information booths—with a smokerlyzer test made available—at participating companies. “By providing cessation activities and offering a healthy, smoke-free work environment, employers can help their employees quit smoking,” said Chin.
Additionally, the company plans to initiate a new employee benefit scheme for all J&J Malaysia employees and their immediate family members: all smokers will be offered the opportunity to join a smoking cessation programme assisted by trained healthcare providers and equipped with counselling services.
The launch was officiated by the health minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, who said the MOH has always been actively involved in smoking cessation programmes. For instance, in 2015, a nation-wide programme called the M Quit Services was implemented to provide smoking cessation services in public and private health institutions. The programme was officiated under a Memorandum of Understanding between the MOH, J&J, Universiti Sains Malaysia, University of Malaya and the Malaysian Academy of Pharmacy.
According to the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey, around 4.9 million Malaysians above the age of 15 are smokers. Half attempted to quit smoking but only one-in-10 visited appropriate healthcare providers for support to do so. The Smoke Free Workforce initiative aims to help 2% of the estimated 4.9 million smokers to quit smoking each year.