The Importance of Quitting
MUSC became a tobacco-free campus on March 1, 2012 and a new Smoke-free Medical District will take effect on March 1, 2013. For most, this is a long-overdue change that makes perfect sense in a state where 20.0% of the adult population (aged 18+ years)—over 683,000 individuals—are current cigarette smokers (34th among the states) and that ranks 37th in smoking-attributable mortality rate. Consider the following statistics provided by the CDC:
- Health care costs for smokers are 40% higher than for non-smokers.
- Corporate employees who smoke cost their employers $1429 more per smoker, per year, in increased health care costs, when compared to non-smoking employees.
- $40 billion a year are the premature death and disability costs U.S. employers pay for their employees who smoke.
- Various studies estimate that smokers are two to three times more often absent from work, as compared to non-smokers. (5.5 more days than non-smokers)
- Compared to non-smokers, in any given year, smokers are 50% more likely to be hospitalized and have 15% higher disability rates.
- Smoking causes millions of dollars of damage each year due to fires. Between 1993 and 1996, the National Fire Protection Association reported $391 million in direct damage caused by smoking-related fires. While many of these fires occur in the home, some do occur in the workplace.
- In general, though not true for all smokers, employees who smoke are less productive than non-smokers because they have less energy, are sick more often, and take more breaks in order to fight with the demands of nicotine addiction.
In support of those employees and students who choose to quit smoking as a result of this policy or who are simply ready to kick the habit, MUSC President Dr. Ray Greenberg requested that smoking cessation resources be made available again free of charge for a period of six months to coincide with the new Smoke-free Medical District ordinance. Beginning January 25 and running through August 1, 2013 MUSC employees and students can take advantage of our free tobacco cessation program. Participants will receive a voucher for free one month supply month of nicotine replacement therapy, or a one month starter supply of prescription medication used for smoking cessation as recommended by a physician. Vouchers for medications must be redeemed at MUSC Pharmacies or MUSC Family Medicine to take advantage of the free offer. Pharmacists will discuss health history and medications to screen for potential interactions and select a product that is right for you. To register, visit MUSC Employee Wellness website at http://www.musc.edu/employee wellness, form will be available from January 25 – August 1.
Quitting smoking is both a mental and a physical undertaking. Mentally, you should be ready and relatively stress-free. Physically, you need to commit to exercising daily and getting plenty of sleep. A person trying to quit must overcome two obstacles: a physical addition to nicotine and a habit. The American Academy of Otolaryngology and the American Lung Association offer the following tips to help users quit using tobacco products:
- Think about why you want to quit.
- Pick a stress-free time to quit.
- Ask for support and encouragement from family, friends, and colleagues.
- Start doing some exercise or activity each day to relieve stress and improve your health.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Join a smoking cessation program, or other support group.
MUSC Employee Wellness is focused on helping employees who use tobacco find ways to quit, on increasing knowledge of lung heath, and on raising awareness about the importance of establishing a tobacco-free workplace.
Ready to quit? MUSC has resources to help you become smoke free for life!