Duke Highlighted for Tobacco Cessation

American Cancer Society recognizes Duke for helping employees quit

Duke has received the American Cancer Society's highest corporate recognition for its efforts to curb employee tobacco use.

Duke Medicine will soon receive the National Impact Award, an annual recognition for companies that have implemented a smoke-free policy. Duke Medicine adopted a tobacco-free initiative in 2007 and was also recognized last year with the Cancer Society's Excellence in Workplace Tobacco Control award.

"We're constantly striving to help create a healthier workplace for our faculty and staff and helping employees find ways to quit tobacco is certainly part of that," said Dr. Carol Epling, director of Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. "As an employer, it's important for Duke to have a commitment to the health and wellbeing of faculty and staff."

To be accepted for the American Cancer Society award, employers must meet a series of criteria, including banning tobacco use on company grounds and offering cessation programs, a "quit line" telephone service and incentives for quitting tobacco such as cessation medication. 

In its nomination packet, Duke highlighted the success of its cessation programs, which are run through LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program. Since 2007, 22 percent of participants quit tobacco after one year, which is comparable to national averages. Duke also promotes annual tobacco cessation events like the Great American Smokeout and has as many as 500 faculty, staff and their dependents participate in cessation programs throughout the year.

To be considered for the award next year, a renewal application will be submitted to again receive the "Excellence in Workplace Tobacco Control" designation. CEO Roundtable on Cancer and the American Heart Association have previously been recognized Duke for its overall employee wellness program, which included tobacco cessation.

Learn more about Duke Medicine's tobacco-free initiative online. A full list of Duke's tobacco cessation resources is also available.