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:

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.

Eligibility rules

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:

QUITPLAN Services program

QUITPLAN Services offers a free complete program to help you quit smoking.

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:

HRA/VEBA

You may use your HRA/VEBA account for these out-of-pocket expenses:

QuitNow app

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

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