More State Agencies Launch Tobacco-Free Campus Policies

As part of the “A Healthier State” initiative, more and more state agencies are adopting tobacco-free campus policies to encourage tobacco users to quit and protect employees and visitors from secondhand smoke. The SC Department of Social Services launched a tobacco-free campus policy across all of their locations on January 4, becoming the fourth SC cabinet agency—behind the Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services—to implement a 100% tobacco-free property-wide policy. The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services and the Department of Mental Health’s main location also became tobacco-free on February 1. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) plans to follow suit by implementing their policy across all locations on March 1. 


A tobacco-free agency ensures that everyone who works, visits, and does business with that agency is able to breathe clean, smoke-free air. Between these seven agencies, more than 14,000 employees across the state are being impacted by the tobacco-free policies, with an indirect impact on contractors and visitors as well. The policies are not designed to punish tobacco users, but to make quitting easier and protect others from secondhand smoke. 


As part of the A Healthier State initiative, these state agencies are adopting comprehensive tobacco-free campus policies meaning that no tobacco products are permitted—including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes—by anyone on agency property including parking lots/garages, personal vehicles, sidewalks, and breezeways at any time. The policies apply not only to employees but also clients, contractors, vendors, and visitors. Referrals to cessation services offered through DHEC and the State Health Plan are being thoroughly promoted to employees encouraging them to quit. These resources include the SC Tobacco Quitline, the Quit for Life program offering cessation counseling and nicotine replacement therapy, as well as prescription cessation medications on formulary when appropriate. 


Through grant funding from the Duke Endowment, DHEC and the SC Hospital Association’s Working Well Initiative have been partnering since 2014 with the SC Department of Administration, all 16 cabinet agencies, and the Department of Mental Health to help these agencies create healthier workplaces for employees. This initiative, called A Healthier State, impacts nearly 35,000 state employees and focuses on establishing tobacco-free work environments, delicious and affordable healthy food environments, physically active worksites, and an overall culture of wellness. The purpose of A Healthier State is to assess, implement, and help maintain effective worksite wellness environments and policies within these 19 organizations.  

02-25-2016 12:28 (EST)