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Bispebjerg Hospital - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Readiness for implementation of smoke-free work hours in private companies: A qualitative study of perceptions among middle managers

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INTRODUCTION: Workplaces are important settings for implementation of smoke-free environments. In this study, we follow a medical production company with 677 employees that implemented one of the most stringent tobacco policies legally possible in Denmark - smoke-free work hours - which means that employees are not allowed to smoke during work time. This study explores tobacco use restrictions during work hours regarding readiness of implementation, focusing specifically on middle managers' perceptions and considerations, as well as their perceived responsibility in enforcing these.

METHODS: A case study is presented. Two focus groups of 10 middle managers were conducted, seven months before smoke-free work hours were implemented. The facilitators used open-ended questions, which consisted of a structured section with specific themes related to the implementation of smoke-free work hours. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically.

RESULTS: We identified five main themes: 1) Benefits of the new policy due to better health, lower sickness-related absences, increased productivity, and improved branding value; 2) Social interactions across smoking status; 3) Smoking is a private matter with ethical dimensions; 4) The role of middle managers and concerns about enforcement; and 5) Limited experience with resistance from the smoking employees.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that workplaces in the preparation phase should ensure that: 1) The middle managers gain training on how to talk with employees about smoking cessation; 2) The middle managers are equipped to handle the new policy and have a joint vision and understanding of why and how they should enforce it; and 3) Room is made for discussions on resistance and enforcement-related challenges as well as ethical issues.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTobacco Prevention & Cessation
Pages (from-to)38
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Research areas

  • middle managers, qualitative study, readiness for implementation, smoke-free work hours, smoking ban, tobacco-free workplace

ID: 66110857