Saturday, November 26, 2011

Health Sciences Center Officials Still Uncertain Of Tobacco Ban

OU Health Sciences Center officials are not sure if its campuswide smoking cigarettes ban has saved money, but they said it has helped reduce the number of smokers.

The center banned all cheap cigarettes products in July 2005, according to its handbook. OU President David Boren is attempting to create a similar ban for the Norman campus, citing the desire to cut cleanup costs, save insurance money and be a model of good health.

Landscaping employees estimate a smoking cigarettes ban would save $45,000, according to Daily archives.

However, HSC Dean Gary Raskob does not know if smoking cigarettes saved the HSC campus any money in landscaping costs.

“I would anticipate they would be similar to what Norman is projecting to be saving,” Raskob said.

The center also was unable to determine if smoking cigarettes had an impact on employee insurance costs because the center is a small fraction of OU’s costs, Raskob said.

But the campus has seen a reduced number of smokers because of the ban.

“There are good studies that there are likely to be increased quitting with this approach because it is the final motivation,” Raskob said. “I’ve heard anecdotal reports about how this was the final motivation to quitting smoking cigarettes, particularly if people are provided enhanced benefits.”

The center is now providing more benefits for those who quit smoking cigarettes, Raskob said. Compliance with the ban has not been an issue, although there are a few individual violators.

Young people, aged 18 to 24, have higher smoking cigarettes rates than general adults in Oklahoma, so a campuswide ban could help, said Sally Carter, interim service chief for cigarettes online at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In Oklahoma, 23.7 percent of all adults smoke, but for adults 18 to 24, that number is 32.5 percent, Carter said. However, younger adults do not typically smoke cigarettes as much or as often.

The biggest advantage of a smoking cigarettes ban would be to take away triggers that make people want to smoke, such as seeing others smoking cigarettes or smelling cigarettes, she said.

“The way I think about college is that the purpose is to prepare students for the workforce,” Carter said. “Most workplaces are adopting tobacco-free policies as well, so moving in that direction is more realistic. ... It’s really about trying to set a precedent for readiness in the workplace.”

The Oklahoma Legislature began banning smoking cigarettes in most workplaces in 2003, according to the Oklahoma Hospitals Association. In 2010, it also passed the Clean Air in Restaurants Act, which encouraged restaurants to become smoke-free as well.

Carter said she urges everyone to use the possible campus smoking cigarettes ban as an impetus to quit smoking cigarettes for good.

“What most people don’t understand is it’s a slow and brutal death,” Carter said. “I lost an uncle to lung cancer. He had lung surgery and couldn’t breathe and was so ill and took so long to die. He just suffered and suffered.”

Todays Note: see this Dunhill.


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