MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (2/5/13) – As of January 1, 2013 the Muhlenberg Career Development Center became a smoke free and tobacco campus.
Center Director, Kenny Brown announced to the students early in 2012 the campus would become smoke free in 2013. Plans were made throughout 2012 to help the students, 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 were encouraged to gradually begin to cut back the number of cigarettes they smoked each day. Surprisingly the majority of MCDC students welcomed the new regulation.
MCDC currently participates in the HEALS program which stands for Healthy Eating and Life Styles. The center’s menu highlights healthy choice items in red lettering. Center Director Kenny Brown said, “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.” The ban includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and similar products.
Students have adjusted to the new rules and very few incident reports have been issued for smoking issues. MCDC is phasing in stiffer penalties each month for the few students who continue to try and skirt the current no smoking regulation. Over a year ago the Department of Labor began a campaign for smoke free campuses on Job Corps centers across the nation. The percentage of smokers, sixteen to twenty four years of age, on Job Corps campuses in the United States is alarming. Smoking is also one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Al Abey, Director of Training at MCDC 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.”
MCDC serves 405 economically disadvantaged students for academic and career technical training. The Job Corps center is operated by Horizons Youth Services in Harrisonburg, Virginia under the watchful eye of the United States Department of Labor.
Information provided by Gary Jones
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