Improve Employee Health and Reduce Exposure to Secondhand Smoke with One Policy Change

The A Healthier State: Make Every Workday Great initiative was launched in 2015 as a joint effort between the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the SC Hospital Association (SCHA) to reduce healthcare costs and absenteeism through worksite wellness environments and policies within the Governor's 16 cabinet agencies, the SC Department of Mental Health and DHEC. Areas of focus include tobacco prevention, breastfeeding, and physical activity and nutrition. 

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in SC, claiming the lives of more than 59,000 South Carolinians since 2005. Through support for and promotion of tobacco-free campuses, A Healthier State ensures everyone who works, visits, and does business at these worksites can breathe clean, smoke-free air. Currently, eight agencies have adopted and implemented tobacco-free policies through technical assistance provided by SCHA and DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control. While most policies have been tailored to meet the needs of the individual agency, the new policies typically prohibit the use of tobacco products in any form (including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco), 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anywhere on the worksite campus. Policies apply to all employees and visitors, potentially impacting more than 35,000 people. 

Available technical assistance includes customizable policy language and communications materials for use with employees, contractors and visitors, as well as indoor and outdoor signage that can be printed with agency logo upon request. DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control staff are available to assist with planning a communications and outreach strategy for going tobacco-free, as well as to provide guidance in customizing tobacco-free policies that meet evidence based best practices.

 Health promotion activities in the work place can improve employees’ health, reduce their risks for disease, control unnecessary health care utilization, limit illness-related absenteeism, and decrease health-related productivity losses. Interested agencies can visit SCaledown to access available resources or contact DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control at 803.898.2282. 

11-27-2017 11:06 (EST)