Tobacco policy starting

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

City employees in Ocean Springs will have to go tobacco-free while they’re on the clock beginning Thursday.

Public buildings in the city are already smoke-free, but the new rule extends that provision to include all forms of tobacco and will be in effect wherever an employee is working, inside or out.

City personnel director Mindy McDowell tells the Mississippi Press of Pascagoula that the city was facing a 3 percent increase on its health insurance policy without such the no-smoking rule.

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McDowell says the city would offer a free tobacco-cessation program to employees that includes doctors visits and a 90-day prescription for appropriate medication.

She says spouses and children can also qualify for the program, if the employee’s health plan covers them.