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Oconee Medical Center offers free tobacco classes | Community Spirit

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Oconee Medical Center offers free tobacco classes
Oconee Medical Center offers free tobacco classes

The University System of Georgia (USG) announced a new Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus policy approved by the Board of Regents.

The goal is to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying USG campuses.

All USG institutions, including Georgia College, will be completely tobacco and smoke-free effective Oct. 1, 2014. Georgia College’s Housing Office, in order to create a consistent residential environment, will eliminate designated smoking areas adjacent to residence halls at the beginning of the semester, effective on move-in day, August 14.

The policy states that the use of all forms of tobacco products is prohibited on property owned, leased, rented, in the possession of, or in any way used by the USG or its affiliates. The use of tobacco products will also be prohibited in all vehicles – private or public vehicles - located on USG properties.

This applies to all persons who enter the areas described above, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, contractors and subcontractors, spectators and visitors. All events hosted by a USG entity or by outside groups on behalf of the USG must be tobacco-free.

Tobacco products are defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco, such as hookahs or electronic cigarettes.

The overall enforcement and authority of this policy lies with the president of each USG institution, but it is also a shared community responsibility, which means all students, faculty and staff share in the responsibility to help keep the campus tobacco-free.  Signage to help inform the campus community and visitors will be placed throughout each campus.

The Board of Regents will make tobacco cessation information, educational material and other wellness resources available to assist employees. Georgia College will also provide resources for students, faculty and staff.

Georgia College will offer a Smoking Cessation Program starting Tuesday, April 8, 2014 from 12:00-1:30 pm. The program meets once a week through May 20. If you are interested in reserving a spot in this program, or you would like to attend a future class when it is offered, please email amy.whatley@gcsu.edu or call 478-445-7535. The class materials cost $20-per participant, but the University will cover the expense.

Free tobacco cessation classes through Oconee Regional Medical Center and the American Cancer Society are available every other month, with the next class starting April 15 at 7:30 p.m. For more information on these classes, call 478-454-3705.

Tobacco users who successfully quit may remove the tobacco use surcharge from their health benefits costs.

To learn more about the policy, visit usg.edu.

For more information on cessation assistance programs through USG, visit usg.edu/wellness

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