Session shows benefits of eliminating tobacco

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Are your health care costs going up in smoke? Would you like to improve productivity among tobacco-using employees? Reduce the annual cost of tobacco-using workers?
Those are a few of the questions a workshop for employers and business owners expects to answer. It is being held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Northeast Mississippi Community College campus in Corinth.
“We were looking for ways to get the word out and thought talking with employers who could then get the word out to their employers would be effective,” said Emily McGrath of Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Alcorn/Tippah counties.
The free workshop is presented by the Coalition and The Alliance, and sponsored by Blue Cross amp& Blue Shield of Mississippi. Lunch is being provided, so reservations are required.
Presenters will be Dr. James Gilmore, a physician in surgery and thoracic surgery at Magnolia Regional Health Center, Lee Ann Griffin, Pharm. D., Mississippi medical outcomes specialist, Doug Henley of Blue Cross amp& Blue Shield and McGrath.
“Dr. Gilmore is a huge advocate for tobacco education because he sees a lot of patients whose illnesses are from smoking,” McGrath said. “One of my coalition members knew Dr. Griffin who has information about products to help get tobacco free, and Blue Cross amp& Blue Shield is working around the state to help promote a tobacco-free Mississippi.”
The average cost of lost productivity for current smokers is $4,430 per year for 2006, according to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, compared to $2,623 for nonsmokers and $3,246 for former smokers.
Since Blue Cross amp& Blue Shield of Mississippi went completely tobacco-free in January 2006, it has helped hospitals, businesses and individuals implement tobacco-free policies and tobacco cessation programs.
Magnolia Regional Health Center announced recently that it is following Blue Cross amp& Blue Shield’s lead by making all of its facilities tobacco-free on June 1 as part of its Community Wellness Initiative.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@journalinc.com.

‘Are your health care costs going up in smoke?’
- What: Workshop for employers and business owners

- When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.Wednesday

- Where: Northeast Mississippi Community College campus, South Harper Road, Corinth

- Reservations required: Call (662) 284-8317 or (662) 287-
5269.