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Back To Vidyya President Clinton Calls For Expanded Access to Smoking Cessation Programs

Excerpts Of The President's Address

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that smoking related diseases claim more than 400,000 lives annually and cost the United States tens of billions of dollars in medical expenses and lost productivity. Smoking related diseases devastate our families and communities by contributing to the premature deaths of husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, siblings, and close friends. As we now know, the vast majority of adult smokers begin smoking as children, and most become addicted to nicotine. Research also show that more than 70 percent of adult smokers would like to quit smoking.

On August 9, 1997, I issued Executive Order 13058, establishing a smoke-free environment for the more than 1.8 million civilian Federal employees and members of the public visiting or using Federal facilities. In that order, I encouraged agencies to establish programs to help employees stop smoking. And in 1998, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducted a survey to determine what steps agencies had taken to help employees stop smoking. The results of that survey showed that a majority of those who responded had smoking cessation programs in place at the worksite or were planning to initiate them.

For example, due to our efforts, 1.4 million members of the armed forces and their families have benefited from Department of Defense initiatives that have provided them with smoke free workplaces and readily accessible smoking cessation programs. The Postal Service’s more than 800,000 employees and their customers have enjoyed smoke free environments since 1993.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Public Health Service released new tobacco cessation guidelines that reflect the latest research on treating tobacco use and addiction. These guidelines will enable clinicians, employers, insurers, health benefits managers, and others to employ programs and therapies that have been proven effective, and help prevent more unnecessary tobacco-related illnesses and deaths. These new guidelines will also serve as a valuable resource for evaluating and improving current programs, including those offered by Federal agencies.

We need to build on our progress. Therefore, I direct the head of each executive department and agency (agency) to send a message to all their personnel that (1) encourages them to stop smoking or never to start; (2) describes assistance the agency can provide in helping them quit smoking; (3) provides informa-tion on proven smoking cessation treatments and practices; and (4) encourages participation in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout scheduled for November 16, 2000.

In addition, I direct all agencies to review their current tobacco cessation programs and to provide a report on their achievements and effectiveness to the Director of OPM 60 days from the date of this memorandum. In conducting these reviews, agencies should consult the new HHS guidelines to determine the key elements of an effective program and identify areas for program enhancement. Any new initiatives planned should also be a part of the report. The OPM will use this information to compile a list of best practices to be shared with all agencies, and to report to me on its findings 90 days from the date of this memorandum.

The OPM will provide assistance to agencies as needed. For example, its Web site contains information on establishing a "Model Smoking Cessation Program."

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

Internet Citation:

Expanding Access to Smoking Cessation Programs. Memorandum issued for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies by the White House Office of the Press Secretary, June 27, 2000. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/wh062700.htm


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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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