City celebrates two years of smoke-free entrances; remember employees must follow City’s smoke-free policy
April 1 marks the two-year anniversary of the City’s updated smoke-free environment policy, which restricts tobacco use on City property to designated areas. Thanks to employee compliance with the policy, entrances to City buildings are now smoke-free.
It is the policy of the City to provide a smoke-free workplace. The City Council passed the smoke-free environment policy in 2014 to address the emergence of electronic cigarettes and to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke on City property.
The policy specifies that City employees, contractors, City vendors, and members of boards and commissions may not smoke:
- During work hours. Smoking is only permitted during lunch periods and breaks.
- At City-owned facilities or on property owned by the City. Smoking is only permitted in authorized outdoor smoking areas.
- In facilities rented or leased by the City. Smoking is only permitted in outdoor smoking areas authorized by the building owner.
- In City vehicles, equipment or machinery.
The policy defines smoking as inhaling, exhaling or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or other lighted tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation. This includes electronic cigarettes and inhaling or exhaling vapor from any electronic delivery device. Policy violations are handled by the employee’s supervisor.
Signs posted at all City buildings notify employees that smoking and electronic cigarette use are allowed in designated areas only. See a map of designated smoking areas for all City buildings.
Quit tobacco for a chance to win $5,000
Stop using tobacco for the month of April, and you could win $5,000 from QUITPLAN Services. Join the QuitCash Challenge by signing up here. Participants who remain tobacco-free all month will be entered into a drawing for the $5,000 prize.
To be eligible for the prize, you must quit or have quit tobacco on or after Aug. 27, 2016, and remain tobacco-free from April 1 to April 30 and as long thereafter as needed for your tobacco-free status to be verified by a urine test. You may not use tobacco products of any kind during this period, but you may use nicotine-replacement therapies such as patches, gum, inhalers, lozenges or prescription medications.
Resources to help you quit
As a City employee, you have many free resources to help you stop using tobacco, and you can even earn points in the employee wellness program for some of them.
Journeys on mymedica.com for 50 points each
My Health Rewards by Medica at mymedica.com has a number of online, interactive journeys devoted to quitting tobacco. You’ll earn 50 points in the employee wellness program for each journey you complete, and the topics will help you change your health habits with simple, achievable steps. Here are some descriptions from the journeys that can help you become tobacco-free:
- Make your date to quit.
You can quit; just take it one small step at a time. In this journey, you’ll set a date. Then you’ll start practicing what it’s like to be smoke-free by starting to say goodbye to those triggers. It’s all about being ready when your quit date comes. This journey is designed for cigarette smokers but will be useful for any tobacco user.
- Not ready to quit.
Not ready to quit? Not a problem. This journey is about getting to know the routines, motivations and triggers in your life that lead to a smoke. Step back and see your smoking from a new angle on your terms and your timeline.
- Ready, set, stop smoking.
You can quit smoking once and for all by practicing one small, doable – even fun – step at a time. First, set your quit date (or get credit for already having one). Then start prepping your mind, body and environment. When your quit date arrives, you’ll be ready to stop. This journey is designed for smokers ready to quit in the next few weeks or months, but there’s lots of support for any tobacco user who wants to quit.
- Stay on track, stay quit.
Even the most devoted quitters face temptation. Practice easy ways to build the new life you want and the habits you need to stay quit for good.
QUITPLAN Services program
QUITPLAN Services offers a free complete program to help you quit smoking.
- Coaching calls: Five one-on-one sessions with a “Quit Coach” to help you use proven quitting strategies.
- Text messaging: Daily tips, games and reminders sent to your mobile phone.
- Nicotine patches, gum or lozenges: Four weeks of free patches, gum or lozenges.
- Email support: Personalized emails about your quit date, milestones, helpful tips, advice and encouragement.
- Welcome kit: A printed guide to help you start building your quitting plan.
The helpline program is free for Minnesotans whose health insurance doesn’t include telephone counseling (the City health plans do not include telephone counseling). On your first call, you and your coach will work together to design a personalized plan for you to quit. Your coach will guide and motivate you through triggers, cravings and managing stress toward the goal of becoming smoke-free.
To sign up for the QUITPLAN Helpline program, call 1-888-354-7526 or visit quitplan.com.
Free nicotine replacement therapy
QUITPLAN Services also offers a free two-week starter kit with patches, gum or lozenges to Minnesotans who want to try quitting smoking. Sign up for a free starter kit at quitplan.com or 1-888-354-7526. You can order two free starter kits per year.
If you’re on the City’s employee health plan through Medica, you can also get these tobacco cessation drugs for free at in-network pharmacies with a prescription from your doctor:
- Zyban: six prescription fills per year.
- Chantix: one starter pack per year with a limit of six prescription fills per year.
- Nicotine lozenges: six prescription fills per year.
You may use your HRA/VEBA account for these out-of-pocket expenses:
- Nicotine replacement therapy with a prescription.
- Smoking cessation programs or counseling.
The free QuitNow app for iOS and Android is designed specifically to help you plan quitting smoking and support you after you quit. The app provides daily relevant quit-smoking tips and a tips library, a quit-date tracker to follow your progress, a real-time savings calculator and a place to create your own customized list of your reasons to quit. Download the app for free today through iTunes or Google Play.
Published Mar 8, 2017