According to the NH Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), food service workers have smoking rates nearly twice the state average, 32.7% compared to 17.2% in the general population. To help foodservice workers quit smoking, the NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration’s Equity Task Force, engaged restaurant managers by providing them with information about the NH Tobacco Quit Line, as well as free cancer screenings.

Since tobacco dependence is considered a chronic disease requiring repeated interventions and multiple quit attempts before a smoker is successfully tobacco‐free for one year or more, the Task Force is taking further steps to advance its initiative. They are providing additional support to smokers who want to become tobacco‐free through the development of smoke-free worksite policies (smoke-free premises),  and are offering information about free tobacco quitting resources to restaurant owners and managers.

Although NH law requires most food service establishments to be smoke‐free, organizational policies pertaining to equitable breaks and/or outdoor space, may unintentionally encourage smoking. The Task Force mailed the following information to foodservice managers (all whom received the prior materials from the NH CCC):

  • The business benefits of addressing tobacco use among employees
  • A brief survey to understand how they perceive tobacco use among their employees and what they are currently offering or doing, if anything
  • Resources including the NH Quit Line.

The end goal is to:

  • Increase the number of restaurant and food service establishments that develop smoke free policies
  • Encourage employees to try to quit
  • Raise awareness of the NH Quit Line as a free resource for anyone who wants to quit.

Organizational members of the Task Force include: Norris Cotton Cancer Center, American Cancer Society, Breathe NH, American Lung Association of the Northeast, NH Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, University of NH, Dartmouth College, North Country Health Consortium, NH Health & Equity Partnership, NH Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, Elliot Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Foundation for Healthy Communities, and the NH Division of Public Health Services.