There has never been a better time to quit tobacco.
Governor Kitzhaber signed an executive order earlier this year that will ban all tobacco use on most state properties beginning Jan. 1, 2013. By the end of 2013, most state property grounds will be tobacco-free.
With tobacco use still the number one cause of preventable death in Oregon, creating tobacco-free environments is key to improving the health of employees, clients and visitors to state properties.
At the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services, we are already smoke-free. The Governor's executive order affirms our commitment to health and provides extra motivation for our employees and other state workers.
People like DHS employee Rebecca Mapes who, like many smokers, started young. Since then she has quit several times, but this time, she said, she is done for good. Mapes credits her new resolve in part to this Executive Order. "Smokers know that the habit is bad there is nothing good about it. The Governor's ban just helps push that desire to quit a little further."
Sandy Henry is flanked by her two daughters, from left, Kit, 14, and Karsten, 17 at the August 2012 Douglas County Fair.
We all know the dangers of tobacco use and we also know the heavy weight of tobacco addiction. Quitting is hard but the benefits are immediate and long-lasting. Just ask Sandy Henry.
She quit last year and in November will celebrate one year smoke-free.
People who stop tobacco reduce their risk for cancer, heart disease and emphysema. They increase the likelihood of longer life and more time with their families. Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in Oregon, representing more than 22 percent of all deaths.
People who quit also reduce financial costs to themselves and to others. Conservative estimates find that the 9 percent of state employees who smoke cost the state more than $13 million each year.
Now's the time to quit, and I will sweeten the pot. In 2008 when our buildings went tobacco-free, I offered to buy a cold turkey lunch for any of our employees three months after they quit. I was proud to provide 45 lunches that year. So if you are an OHA employee who used tobacco this year, and have been tobacco free for at least 3 months by April 1, 2013, lunch is on me. Just send me a note and let me know.
Below is information for resources to help.
Tobacco Cessation Resources
The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line is a free, telephone and web-based program that helps callers quit tobacco. It offers free confidential, evidence-based counseling and materials. Callers may be eligible for nicotine patches or gum.
The Quit Line is open seven days a week, 4:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (Pacific time)
- 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
- Spanish Quit Line: 1-877-2NO-FUME (1-877-266-3863)
- TTY: 1-877-777-6534