Governor Kitzhaber signed an Executive Order that will establish most state-owned buildings and properties as tobacco-free while creating a single, statewide policy to transition state properties to tobacco-free status by 2014.
"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Oregon. The human and financial costs are simply too high," said Governor Kitzhaber. "By promoting a healthy environment for state employees, clients and visitors, we can create an environment that reduces tobacco use and protects health."
In 2009, tobacco cost Oregonians nearly $2.4 billion, with $1.25 billion in direct medical costs and almost $1.15 billion in lost productivity due to early death. At the state level, though only nine percent of state employees smoke, they cost the state more than $13 million each year in health care expenses and lost productivity.
Tobacco-free campuses and property not only support tobacco users trying to quit, they also protect people from exposure to the toxins in secondhand smoke. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Resources are available for people considering quitting tobacco use. For state employees, the Public Employees Benefit Board provides benefits to help people quit. All Oregonians considering quitting using tobacco can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for resources and information.
Link to Executive Order: http://cms.oregon.gov/gov/docs/executive_orders/eo_12-13.pdf