Washington Evening Journal
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Five businesses on the Mt. Pleasant Square are the most recent organizations to adopt a tobacco and nicotine free policy.
Etc. Boutique, Brown’s Shoe Fit, Niki’s Dance Company, Salon Monroe, and Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce all announced they had made the policy to provide healthy work environments for staff and community.
Chris Kempker at the ISU Extension and Outreach Office said the decision by an employer to become a tobacco and nicotine free workplace benefits both the company and its employees.
“Tobacco users who want to quit have more of a reason to do so in a supportive environment,” said Kempker, who is the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for Henry, Des Moines and Lee counties. “A study by the Society for Human Resource Management also found employee engagement and morale is improved by a healthy workforce.”
The Smoke Free Air Act, which celebrated its 13th anniversary in 2021, prohibits smoking in places of employment; however, it does not extend to smokeless tobacco. That means products like chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes are legal to use unless a business implements a tobacco and nicotine free policy.
According to the journal Tobacco Control, smokers miss about 2.6 more days of work each year than non-smokers. Additionally, the American Cancer Society estimates tobacco-related health care costs and lost work productivity equal $289 billion dollars in the U.S.
Kempker can assist with implementing a tobacco and nicotine free policy at other area businesses. Free resources and signage are available. Call 319-385-8126 for more information.