News and Events

Tobacco Free Worksite Policies in Highlands County
June 10, 2019

Highlands County, Florida - The Tobacco Free Partnership works diligently at helping businesses create smoke and tobacco free workplaces. This is based on the impact that smoke-free workplace legislation, including smoking restrictions in restaurants, has made on youth tobacco use. Smoke-free policies help young people to realize that tobacco use is not a "normal" adult behavior... an attitude that the tobacco industry has marketed for years.

The Partnership is excited to announce that the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce is doing just that with the creation of a tobacco free worksite policy that has placed stricter regulations on employees and visitors. In addition to the worksite policy, the Chamber has also adopted a Tobacco Free Events Policy, which prohibits tobacco use at all events hosted by the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce.

Tobacco free worksites protect employees from the harmful effects of secondhand-smoke, and can also encourage current tobacco users to reduce their use and help those who are trying to quit.  This gives employers the opportunity to reduce the negative impact of tobacco on their employees and their business.

One of the primary reasons an employer chooses to adopt a tobacco free workplace is the high cost associated with tobacco use at work.  Pack-a-day smokers are estimated to have 75% more lost productive time during the work day than their non-smoking co-workers, and healthcare costs are an average of 34% higher than those who do not use tobacco (Estimating the cost of a smoking employee, 2013). In Florida, the average loss in productivity annually for a tobacco user at the workplace is $4,056.  The average extra medical expense for tobacco users is $2,056 (Estimating the cost of a smoking employee, 2013).


For more information about adopting a tobacco free workplace, visit or contact Amanda John at  To learn more about the Quit Your Way program, visit


Berman M., Crane R., Seiber E., & Munur M. (2013). Estimating the cost of a smoking employee. Tobacco Control. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050888