Colorado businesses support employees during Great American Smokeout

Jess Harvat –Tobacco Communications Specialist | 303-692-6370 | jess.harvat@state.co.us
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 19, 2014
 
 
 
            DENVER - Colorado businesses, local public health agencies and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have teamed up to support Coloradans who want to quit tobacco during the Great American Smokeout. This statewide partnership connects people with resources for quitting and encourages them to make Nov. 20 the day they quit smoking for good.
            Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. They may use the date to make a plan to quit or plan in advance to quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout challenges people to stop using tobacco and informs them about the many tools they can use to quit smoking for good.
Tobacco not only harms smokers; it also affects their employers’ financial health. Smoking-related illnesses cost employers an average of $2,056 per smoker every year in excess medical expenses, as well as $979 per smoker in absenteeism. Studies show smoking breaks cost employers an average of $3,077 per smoker annually in lost productivity. People in certain occupational groups are disproportionately affected, including food service, construction, retail and administrative workers.  
            “Businesses that support their employees in quitting tobacco stand to benefit in many ways,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Their employees’ overall health will improve, and it will ultimately save employers money and time. It’s a win for everyone involved.”
            At least 25 employers across Colorado will promote the Great American Smokeout and provide their employees with a variety of free resources, including support from the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), www.coquitline.org and www.tobaccofreeco.org.  
            If your business is interested in offering your employees free resources for quitting, implementing smoke-free campus policies, receiving free promotional materials for the Great American Smokeout and learning how to support employees’ efforts to quit, contact CDPHE’s Tobacco Communications Specialist Jess Harvat at jess.harvat@state.co.us.
           
 
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