An employee takes smoking breaks at work and I would prefer if they didn't. One concern is that they are asthmatic and this cannot be helping their health situation. Is there any legitimate incentive I can offer to stop them smoking?

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    Is their health the only reason you want them to stop smoking. If so, don't get involved with him. You're not responsible for their decision to smoke and it probably comes across really pushy if you go on and urge people to stop smoking because you're considered for their health. "It's not good for you, you know!"
    – Sabine
    May 11 '16 at 8:17
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    if you got the power make the break area smoke free if applicable. In General where is he Smoking? May 11 '16 at 8:25
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    It's not your prerogative. If you're the manager or the employee's boss AND the employee is smoking where it's forbidden, then you could intervene. Otherwise move on.
    – cst1992
    May 11 '16 at 8:42
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    You're not his dad/mom. If he isn't smoking where it is forbidden AND inside the company, it's none of you business.
    – undefined
    May 11 '16 at 12:29
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    @JoeStrazzere: A manager talking about an employee's health issue (unless it is directly affecting their work) is a very questionable area. I would stay away from that. May 11 '16 at 14:29

Short answer: No.

If it's not illegal and they are not smoking where they shouldn't, then it's not your concern. It is their decision, knowing their own health issues.

Leave it be.


The only way someone can stop smoking is if they choose to do it themselves, not by someone dangling an incentive in front of their face.

As a smoker myself, if someone kept trying to get me to stop smoking, I would be extremely annoyed and it would only detriment my relationship with that co worker.


No, you can't. Nor should you.

Smoking is a (bad) lifestyle choice, which is not something you have any right or business being involved in. If they want to smoke themselves to death, that's their prerogative.

If you start down this particular rabbit hole, other employees could feel that this is unfair advantage. Or the smoking employee could feel discriminated. Or you could come across as overly pushy. There really isn't an appropriate way for you to get involved in this.


If you're the boss, on addition to setting "not here" rules (which will make them take longer breaks to go farther from the building), you can offer to pay for stop-smoking programs as part of the company benefits package available to everyone. You may be eligible for an insurance rebate or reduced rate if you do so; ask your carrier and/or shop around.

Remember, this is an addiction, even if the drug is legal. They can't stop without a major effort. Pretending that it's easy is not helpful or effective. Especially if you are in a part of the world where the general opinion has not yet turned against smoking.

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    "you can offer to pay for stop-smoking programs" -- If the colleague already expressed a desire to stop but difficulty doing so, suggesting such programs might make sense (not sure about offering to pay for it). But if he has not already suggested a desire to quit, it would be too presumption to suggest anything like that.
    – Brandin
    May 11 '16 at 9:54
  • @brandin: Not so, if you announce it as a general employee benefit rather than shoving it directly in this one employee's face. Your insurance company may want to help sponsor this, since nonsmokers are cheaper for them; ask.
    – keshlam
    May 11 '16 at 9:57
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    Yes, then it would make sense. From the way this is currently worded the suggestion "offer to pay for stop-smoking programs" does not make me think of a general benefits package.
    – Brandin
    May 11 '16 at 10:15
  • I suggest editing your answer to make clear that it should be offered as a company-wide benefit.
    – undefined
    May 11 '16 at 12:31
  • Edited. Good catch.
    – keshlam
    May 11 '16 at 15:03

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