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Healthy Communities awards grant

Columbus -   The Bartholomew County Healthy Communities Tobacco Awareness Action Team, in partnership with the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC), recently awarded a $1,000 grant to Columbus Behavioral Center to help employees quit smoking.

"Columbus Behavioral Center has a number of employees who smoke and a passionate nurse manager who wants to help," said Peggy Voelz, Coordinator of Tobacco Prevention Programs for Bartholomew County Healthy Communities. "This grant will help make a positive influence on employees and hopefully the youth that are staying there."

Columbus Behavioral Center for Children and Adolescents provides a safe and therapeutic environment for youth ages 8 to 18 to focus on individualized treatment goals that address their histories of multiple acute care hospitalizations, substance abuse problems, or repeated behavioral health concerns. It employs 110 people.

The center plans to use the grant to help fund an on-site smoking cessation program, the purchase of a carbon monoxide monitor, and smoke-free signage.

"Our goal is to become a smoke-free campus," said Freda Lawson, Nursing Services Manager. "We hope the on-site cessation program will attract more participation and the CO monitors will motivate participants because they will be able to watch their health improve as their carbon monoxide numbers go down."

Voelz said she anticipates cost savings for employees and the center.

If a person smokes one pack of cigarettes a day (at $4.95 per pack), he or she will spend more than $1,800 a year on smoking.

Voelz said employees who smoke can cost the employer more than a non-smoker. Added expenses include higher health-care costs, higher life insurance premium costs, increased absenteeism, and work time spent on smoking rituals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each smoker costs an employer $3,383: $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,623 in excess medical expenditure.

Tobacco Quitline
The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is staffed by trained quit coaches that provide quitting solutions tailored to each individual caller. The free service is available seven days a week in more than 170 languages. For more information call 1-800 Quit Now (1-800-784-8669) or visit

Great American Smokeout
Thursday, November 18, marks the American Cancer Society's 35th annual Great American Smokeout. Each year, smokers are encouraged to use this date to make a plan to quit smoking.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health:
• Tobacco use kills 10,000 Indiana residents and 420,000 people in the U.S. every year.
• Indiana ranks 6th highest in smoking among the 50 states.

"With the holidays just around the corner, it's a great time for people to give the 'gift' of a better life to themselves and to their loved ones by quitting," said Peggy Voelz, Coordinator of Tobacco Prevention Programs, Healthy Communities.


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