Published on July 6th, 2015 | by Burlington Partnership


A Safer, Healthier Workplace

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “The debate is over. The science is clear; secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard.” The 2010 Surgeon General’s report says, “There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke – is harmful.” Smoking is the #1 cause of preventable death in this country. For every 8 smokers the tobacco industry kills, it takes 1 nonsmoker with them. Here in Vermont, 800 people die each year from smoking related causes.

In Chittenden County, only 14% of the adult population smokes, and 18% in all of Vermont (data from VT Dept. of Health 2008-2011 Survey). That means that in our area 86% of the adult population does not smoke! The CDC reports that employee tobacco use results in increased health care costs, lost work time (smoke breaks) and increased absenteeism, and estimates that the cost of employee smoking on the employer averages approximately $5,325/year per smoker. Our staff help worksites in the Burlington area to reduce dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke, support the health of their employees and reduce health care costs with cessation resources.

A rapidly growing number of worksites, housing complexes, and institutions throughout the nation and in VT have created smoke- or tobacco-free campuses policies to support the health and wellness of their staff and consumers. To name just a few:, Vermont Public Radio, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont, all housing owned by Summit Property Management, and the University of Vermont Medical Center and college campus.

Are you interested in improving the smoking or tobacco policy for your worksite campus?

We can help! Our trained staff at the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community can support your business with resources, education, and on-site technical assistance that will help you to improve your campus policy and engage your employees in the process.

We also partner with the Vermont Department of Health to connect businesses to their FREE metal signs to promote your worksite as a smoke-free or tobacco-free zone. They can be customized with your business logo and are available in two different sizes.

BPHC can support your business with small removable window decals that say “Breathe easy. Smoke free zone,” if you prefer something less permanent. Or buttons that read, “Smoke Free Near Me.” Click here to see pictures of our materials and learn more about the impact of secondhand smoke.

Offering Help to Quit is Key!

Vermont offers free help to quit smoking for all Vermont residents. 802Quits offers FREE smoking cessation support and resources to all Vermont residents online at, by phone at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, and in person at local cessation classes.

Thousands of Vermont tobacco users are looking for successful ways to quit, and together we can help! Every year, 53,000 of the 95,000 Vermonters who smoke make an attempt to quit and many try to do it alone. At the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community, we have brochures and stickers to promote and our local Quit Partners. If you’d like us to drop off some of these materials so you can have some on hand to support your staff who want to quit, just contact our Office Assistant Jessica at or 802.652.0997.

Increasing smoke-free and tobacco-free policies, signs and cessation support are a step toward lowering smoking rates in Vermont. Proudly displaying signage and promoting tobacco cessation on your campus shows your business’s commitment to helping to improve the quality of life of all Vermonters. Please contact our office anytime for more information or to reach out for support.

About the Author

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑