SC Department of Health and Human Services Launches Tobacco-Free Campus Policy

The SC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the third cabinet agency in SC, behind the Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice, to implement a 100% tobacco-free, property-wide policy. A tobacco-free agency ensures that everyone who works, visits, and does business with that agency is able to breathe clean, smoke-free air. 


DHHS launched their tobacco-free campus policy on September 1 across all of their sites statewide, impacting approximately 1,200 employees. The policy is designed to make quitting easier and protect employees from secondhand smoke. 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 policy applies not only to employees, but also clients, contractors, vendors, and visitors. Referrals to cessation services offered through DHHS, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (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 through the State Health Plan, as well as prescription cessation medications on formulary. DHHS has 70 locations across the state, many of which are co-located with other cabinet agencies. DHHS is currently in the process of partnering with these agencies to gain their support in communicating and enforcing the policy on DHHS’s property. 


Through grant funding from the Duke Endowment, DHEC and the SC Hospital Association’s (SCHA) Working Well Initiative have been partnering since last summer to work with the Governor’s Office, all 16 cabinet agencies, and the Department of Mental Health to help these agencies create healthier workplaces for their employees. This initiative, called A Healthier State, impacts nearly 35,000 state employees and focuses on establishing tobacco free people and places, 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.  As part of this initiative, many other state agencies plan to implement tobacco-free property policies over the next several months. 

10-30-2015 01:54 (EDT)