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Telephone counsellors gearing up for calls

06 March 2006

Telephone counsellors gearing up for calls


Telephone counsellors gearing up for calls

Glasgow telephone counsellors are gearing up for an influx of calls from stressed workers when the smoking ban comes into force in Scotland at 6am on Sunday 26 March.

Validium, which operates one of the largest confidential counselling helplines in Scotland, is urging employers to recognise that tempers may be raised, along with anxiety levels, and be proactive in helping staff deal with giving up the habit.   Many employers may not be aware that they also have a legal obligation to ensure that adequate signage is positioned throughout the office, clearly indicating a smoke free environment, and that a clear smoking policy is circulated to all members of staff.

“Until now a lot of the available information has focused on the economic impact the ban will have on business however, employers really need to be aware of the increased anxiety the smoking ban will generate in the workplace. Addiction, of any kind, is extremely powerful and it is vital that staff receive support during this time. Rather than focusing on the health and financial aspects of smoking which smokers are already familiar with, employers should ensure that they provide simple fact sheets on giving up and preferably, try and set up a support group so that smokers can help each other,” said Janice Arbuckle, Telephone Counselling Manager, Validium.

Advice for smokers trying to give up includes:

  • Challenge the thinking behind why you smoke – what do you have to lose or gain by giving up?
  • Recognise that smoking does not alleviate stress, it just fulfils an addiction
  • Realise that you are not giving something up, your life will still be the same and you will be able to do the same things i.e. go to the pub
  • Be aware of danger times and areas, such as tea-breaks,

“Smokers clutch to ideas that help perpetuate the habit, such as they will put on weight if they give up, and they need to try and overcome all their perceived difficulties such as not being able to go out drinking unless they can smoke.   Giving up takes a completely different way of thinking and understanding and any support employers can provide will go a long way to helping that process,” added Janice.