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New smoking policy seeks to promote health
March 07, 2005
By Bryan Cribb

With a view towards promoting the health and positive image of the seminary community, members of Southern Seminary's Executive Cabinet have instituted a new non-smoking policy for the entire seminary campus effective March 1. Previous policy only prohibited smoking in seminary buildings.

"This action is not a radical move," said Clark Logan, senior vice president for institutional administration. "We are simply following the lead of many campuses, hospitals, businesses, etc., to promote a safe, efficient and healthy workplace."

The policy promises not only a healthier workplace, but also healthier workers, said Connie Marrett, director of personnel services. And it will hopefully encourage members of the seminary community who smoke to consider quitting.

"We want employees to benefit personally and professionally from improved health and well-being," she said. "Some benefits [of quitting] include improvements in blood pressure, respiration, cardio-health, decreased risk of cancer, [heightened] senses of taste and smell and having a little extra spending money."

Besides the obvious personal health benefits, this new policy also fits with a new employee health emphasis, in concert with the seminary's insurance company, Bluegrass Family Health, Logan said.

A non-smoking environment lowers health insurance costs, which, in turn, benefits the seminary health insurance program as a whole, Marrett said.

"Any improvements in lifestyle such as smoking cessation, exercise and good nutrition should have an impact on the employee health insurance program and costs," she said. "Reducing health insurance claims where we can will enable the seminary to provide quality coverage at an affordable rate."

Marrett added that many resources are available to assist in the cessation process.

"We are investigating the possibility of offering an on-campus Smoking Cessation Program," she said. "In the meantime the American Lung Association offers 'Freedom from Smoking Online,' a 24-hour per day support program at www.ffsonline.org."

The policy also helps maintain the seminary's already clean and positive image in the community and with visitors.

"We want our campus portrayed in the best image possible," Logan said.

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