Today's the day. DHS is now officially tobacco-free at 57 locations -- those we own or wholly lease. That is nearly a third of our work sites, with more to follow.
Discussing the new tobacco-free campus policy.
This is a tremendous accomplishment for us as an organization. We are walking the talk of promoting healthy behaviors, and we are reducing the physical and social costs of tobacco use. And everyone benefits -- our employees, our clients, and everyone in Oregon.
This was a day that was reached after a long, deliberate and well-thought-out process that involved discussions and collaboration by DHS managers, staff, union representatives, our Tobacco Prevention and Education Program experts, PEBB employees and others. Our goal was to implement this policy in a way that was respectful of smokers and nonsmokers alike.
That's why for six months before the start of today's tobacco-free policy our Tobacco Prevention and Education Program staff worked with PEBB to reach out to smokers with information and resources to help them quit. The timeline allowed everyone to plan on how to adapt to this new policy and, if possible, find ways to quit using tobacco.
Small but attentive crowd in HSB lobby for Tobacco-Free kickoff.
And I'm pleased to say this approach has been successful. I have been stopped many times in the halls by employees who said this new policy gave them the final impetus they'd needed to quit smoking. As a former smoker myself, I understand how difficult it can be to quit, so I want to acknowledge and congratulate those of you who have stopped using tobacco. Good job!
I was pleased to see so many people at this morning's kick-off event in the HSB lobby, including local media representatives. I think it's important to promote this accomplishment and encourage other employers to join us. In fact, we already have heard from several other state agencies and a hospital interested in learning how we went about developing the policy in a way that supports tobacco users in their efforts to quit.
Attaching a No Smoking sign to the building's front door.
This was the right thing to do for a lot of reasons. We should all be proud of this accomplishment and of the roles we've played in making this happen.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone in our organization for the professional and understanding manner in which we have implemented this new policy.
I'm looking forward to the day all DHS facilities and campuses will follow in the footsteps of these first 57.