Smoke Free Workplaces Reducing Risks: February 4, 2012

A smoke free workplace may be more than a breath of fresh air; studies show it may reduce the risk of heart attacks. The Mayo Clinic presented a research study that found sudden cardiac deaths dropped in a sampled mandatory smoke free environment. It adds fuel to the fire of the tobacco free workplaces like Lee Memorial Health System, which cleared the air a year ago.

“We went on a strategic decision that this was going to be part of a greater strategy of health and wellness. And our mission as an organization is to continue to meet the health care needs and improve the health status of the people of southwest Florida,” says Brad Pollins, director of organizational effectiveness for Lee Memorial Health System.

“We decided that we wanted to be a role model for the community in having a tobacco free campus for our employees, all of our visitors, anyone who comes on any of our properties,” says Sally Jackson, director of community projects for Lee Memorial Health System.

All campuses of the health system are entirely smoke free, including the parking lot and public spaces. The elimination of cigarettes also extinguishes second hand smoke.

“I think that the employees today understand that we’re trying to do it for the betterment of our employees and the betterment for those that we serve and for this organization,” says Pollins.

Since the smoking ban was announced, more workers continue to kick the habit and are getting support doing it.

“We found that if you give people enough time to make choices and you give them the support they need to choose what’s going to work for them, you’ll have a lot more takers,” says Jackson.

“We had a steering committee that looked at what we do for smoking cessation programs and make sure that education, pharmaceuticals and any aids that we could provide to our employees were available,” says Pollins.

What may be the best proof of performance is a healthy workforce.