MARATHON – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners is the first employer or business in the Florida Keys – and the first County Commission in the state – to receive the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance’s Gold Standard Worksite Wellness Award.
The County has had a “No Tobacco Use” policy for employees since Jan. 1, 2015. But for this award, the County met the gold standard by providing its employees with benefits that include a prescription plan that covers all seven of the FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications, unlimited quit attempts per year for all covered plan participants and ongoing cessation counseling.
“You are setting the trend for a tobacco free worksite,” said Valerie Lacy, Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida.
Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers acknowledged that the no smoking policy is difficult for some employees. “But we think that it is better for everyone’s health, both smokers and nonsmokers. Also, it’s beneficial for the County budget.”
Smoking costs employers about $3,400 per smoker per year due to lost productivity and medical expenses. It is estimated that 17.5 percent of people in Florida smoke and/or use tobacco products. The percentage is even higher in the Keys, at 21 percent.
The award was presented by Lacy. Kari Jacoby, Healthy Promotions Manager for the American Lung Association in Florida, also appeared by video to present the award.
For more information about the Florida Free Florida and the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance, go to TobaccoFreeFL.com.