Department of Highways, District 10
Lee County Department of Highways maintenance crew goes smoke-free
JACKSON, KY – (June 15, 2006) – The Lee County Department of Highways maintenance crew has given the term "smoke-free workplace" a whole new meaning.
Recently, the last of the smokers on the 12-person crew gave up the habit, earning the praise of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher and Transportation Cabinet officials.
"Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable disease and premature death," said Governor Fletcher, who is also a physician. "It is great news for these employees and their families that they have decided to stop smoking. Smoking cessation is one of the cornerstones of the First Lady's 'Get Healthy Kentucky' initiative, and the First Lady and I offer our congratulations to the Lee County maintenance crew."
"Research shows that smokers miss more time off work due to illness than non-smokers," said Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert. "By quitting smoking, these Transportation Cabinet team members will become healthier and more productive in their professional and personal lives. My hat is certainly off to them and I hope they will remain smoke-free for the sake of their health."
"We are proud of the Lee County crew for their decision to stop smoking," said Linda Wagner-Justice, District 10 chief district engineer. "No doubt those who have quit smoking already feel better, are breathing easier, and are enjoying other health benefits. Nicotine addiction is tough to overcome, and we hope these employees will stay strong and not start back."
In addition to the obvious health and workplace productivity benefits, there is another bonus to the employees' decision.
"It sure makes cleaning up around the garage a whole lot easier," said Hargus Griffith, a Lee County maintenance crew employee. "With no cigarette butts to sweep up, there's a whole lot less trash."
The state offers smoking cessation classes for its employees through the Personnel Cabinet's Wellness Works Kentucky program. More information can be obtained by visiting http://personnel.ky.gov/wellness/smokecess/. In Lee County, the People Encouraging People (PEP) Coalition frequently sponsors public Cooper-Clayton smoking cessation classes in conjunction with the Lee County Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (KY-ASAP) local board and the Kentucky River District Health Department. The next round of classes is tentatively scheduled to begin in July. For more information, call (606) 464-0494.
Members of the Lee County Maintenance crew are, from left, L.C. Moore, Jeff Phillips, Jeff Gabbard, Drexel Creech, Wendell Thacker, Hargus Griffith, Tyler Rich (seasonal employee), Kevin McIntosh, Jeff Colwell and Raymond Morris. Missing from the photo are Mike Brandenburg, Keith Horn and Aaron Gay.