corp nosmokingGREENVILLE, Ky. (3/6/13) – As of Jan. 1, 2013, Muhlenberg Job Corps Center is a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus. Center Director Kenny Brown announced to students and staff early in 2012 the campus would become smoke free in 2013. Plans were made throughout 2012 to help the students and staff members who smoked to transition to the smoke-free environment. Smoking cessation classes were conducted, and weekly announcements were made during student assembly about the dangers of smoking. Students and staff were encouraged to gradually cut back the number of cigarettes they smoked each day. Surprisingly, the majority of MCDC students welcomed the new regulation.

Muhlenberg currently participates in the HEALS (Healthy Eating and Life Styles) program, and, as part of that program, the center's cafeteria menu highlights healthy choice items in red. "Since we were putting emphasis on healthy lifestyles through eating properly, we felt we should institute a smoke-free campus to emphasize the HEALS program even more," said Brown. The ban includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and similar products.

Students and staff members have adjusted to the new rules, and very few incident reports have been issued for smoking issues. The center is phasing in stiffer penalties each month for the few students who continue to ignore the current no smoking regulation.

More than a year ago the Department of Labor began a campaign for smoke-free campuses on Job Corps centers across the nation. Given that smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States, the percentage of smokers, 16 to 24 years of age, on Job Corps campuses in the United States is alarming.

Al Abey, director of training at Muhlenberg, said, "Many of the employers we work with to place students in jobs have strict policies and regulations regarding tobacco use during work time. Many hospitals and medical facilities totally ban smoking on their property. We teach non-smoking as an employability skill to our students."
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Posted on 2/2/14
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