“Quitting smoking is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Javier Calvo, director of the Campus FP network of training centers, stated emphatically. He acknowledges that the first five days were “a real fight with myself” above all to overcome “the associations with coffee and work.” Ending this addiction in the workplace not only means reducing professional risks and their derived costs, it is also improving productivity, which can increase by up to 4.5%, according to the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery. Among managers, smoking even has an impact on the outcome of their negotiations.
A situation in which the executive who smokes “is weaker and more vulnerable” to endure the long hours leading up to a pact “because the monkey is going to push him to get up from the table,” explains José Capote, psychologist expert in addictions and creator of the method the last cigarette. Something that Pilar Galeote, professor of Negotiation at IE Law School, subscribes to: “The lack of tobacco in prolonged sessions can act as a stressor for behavior and cause greater emotional disturbance. This makes it difficult to reach an agreement and relationships with others, but it also affects our personal brand”.
The National Plan on Drugs indicates that 35.6% of the working population smokes daily. For this reason, more and more programs offer smoking cessation through the company. Something that entails fewer prolonged absences, greater motivation and favors the work environment. Banco Santander, for example, has the Live to the fullest program, in collaboration with the University of Navarra Clinic and the Spanish Association Against Cancer. In addition, its initiative #Respirolibreenestelugar provides for more smoke-free spaces in dining areas, building doors or outdoor areas. Aqualia or Heineken also have free plans, such as Exfumate, from the latter, for employees who choose to quit smoking, and the Spanish Football Federation follows the smoking cessation program run by the Spanish Association Against Cancer.
Despite the fact that offices and workplaces have been smoke-free places since the reform of the Anti-Tobacco Law came into effect in 2011, the truth is that smoking breaks register significant consumption. This entails a cost to companies of 26,000 million euros a year, according to a study by the Jobatus employment portal, which takes into account, in addition to tobacco, other idle times such as coffee, lunch or going to the bathroom. The study quantifies that a worker spends nine minutes smoking a cigarette and up to four cigarettes smoked during his working day, which means a loss of 36 minutes a day. “It’s not just the time he wastes smoking, but the time he disconnects from his work performance thinking about when he’s going to go out again,” Capote explains.
Faced with this loss of productivity, absenteeism caused by diseases associated with smoking and deaths (54.00 estimated per year, as published by the Spanish Journal of Cardiology), companies fall into the arms of methods that ensure high rates of success. They all agree on a single requirement: wanting to quit. “We transfer knowledge from knowing to feeling so that the worker understands that he doesn’t really like smoking. From there he can use this tool that in 40 days, scientifically and without medication, accompanies him for his total resignation ”, assures the author of the last cigarette, whose cost is 89 euros per person. Workers from companies such as Bytic, Brix Projects or Impulso 06 have joined him. 40% of the staff have been accepted at Campus FP and 50% have completed it successfully. “Its digital format gives freedom to access the sessions in idle times”, Javier Calvo values.
Attending a retreat in the middle of nature in Las Hurdes (Cáceres) is the proposal made by Akassa to quit smoking in three days. This detox alternative offers loft bioclimatic, promises full accompaniment and they only accept you “if there is a real desire to give up the addiction,” says its manager, Ignacio Paredes. Both for groups (16 people maximum) and for individuals, here they talk about a “very personalized service” rather than a treatment. Its cost is 400 euros including accommodation, and, in case of not achieving it, “we will refund the money”.
In this haven of peace, isolated and without possible temptation, “they reflect on what aspects of personal and work life have pushed them to smoke.” Once identified, we work from systemic psychology with meditation. “We give the person all the power to identify the cause for which he started. This empowers him so that he is the one who makes the decision to leave it, ”says Paredes. Proyecto Hombre Valencia also has a smoking program that calls for quitting in six sessions spread over 10 weeks for groups of 8 to 16 people at a price of 1,500 euros. It has been followed by workers from companies such as UME, SAV, ArcelorMittal, Manufacturas Ceylan or Grupo Danone, with a success rate of between 65% and 78%.
His method is based on discovering the triggers and developing personal strategies from them. A process that includes, in addition to motivation, training on facilitators, nutrition, sleep, anxiety and physical exercise. Implemented in most communities, its effectiveness is achieved “by the combination of commitment, support, a sense of belonging and positive pressure from the group, and a joint progression”, appreciates Fernando Ribas, an Occupational Prevention technician at Proyecto Hombre Valencia.
Inhaling vapor from an electronic cigarette, which contains nicotine, opens the door to cigarette smoking. Vaping is the latest trend in this type of addiction and is all the rage among young people. Universities have begun to take anti-smoking measures including this new fad, which many mistakenly believe is harmless. The Francisco de Vitoria University has imposed restrictive measures from its Campus without smoke program, which it makes available to its 2,100 workers and 13,000 students.
“In an initial phase of awareness, we have set up only two smoking points on such a large campus,” says Mónica Samper, director of safety, health and well-being. They have also signed an agreement with the Spanish Association Against Cancer to eradicate the consumption of cigarettes, pipes, electronic cigarettes or vapers. “A survey has been launched, of which we already have 1,300 responses, on consumer habits to define action strategies based on groups grouped by age. Only one condition is requested to sign up: real desire to abandon this addiction.
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