Businesses were learning how to minimize the complaints of second hand smoke and remain compliant with Maine smoking laws. Shawn Cunningham explains.
Workplaces that are smoke free aren’t just complying with Maine law, but they’re healthier environments for workers…and boast cost effective benefits say antitobacco education advocates.
Sarah Mayberry is the Program Director for the Breathe Easy Coalition for Maine and says “Changing their policy might take some time with HR and doing education of staff but it really is something good in the longrun that will have a benefit to them as it can increase productivity and hopefully reduce healthcare costs.” “Its important for number one the health of their employees because second hand smoke has as many deadly poisons as first hand smoke just in a different venue and I think sometimes the employers or employees don’t really know the laws and they want to do what’s right for the company,” adds Jo-Ellen Kelley, a Community Education Specialist for Healthy Aroostook.
And taking a first step in doing what’s right for many of these community leaders and business people is attending this first ever county tobacco conference put on by Healthy Aroostook. Mayberry says its important companies know and practice updated Maine policies on antismoking in the workplace.
Some of those compliant practices include:
-writing a policy that meets the requirements of Maine law
-posting the policy where all workers can see it.
-providing a copy of the policy to workers.
-supervising the effective implementation of the policy.
Kelley says there are some issues that are at the forefront that businesses should be aware of…”lots of conversation in the state about smoking at fairgrounds smoking during parades as know now its illegal to be smoking in areas of schools or creation areas.”
Another hot button issue being discussed at this conference is the trend of electronic cigarettes and its impact on Maine law.
Mayberry says “They create a weird norm and people don’t know whether they’re traditional tobacco products or not and also put out a second hand vapor and don’t know what’s in them yet.”
Mayberry adds companies willing to take the steps to stay educated on these policies are making an investment in their workforces…and ultimately their communities.