MIAMI – Most people agree that trying to quit the cigarette habit is a very difficult endeavor. It helps if your workplace has services in place to help. Jackson Health System is apparently making strides in that arena because the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance awarded the Gold Level Worksite Wellness Award to Jackson Health System for its commitment and dedication to their employees’ health and wellness. Jackson Health System was recognized for their outstanding cessation services that assist employees quit using tobacco products and break their nicotine addiction.

Andrew Cuddihy, Health Promotions Director for the Southeast Region of the American Lung Association, presented the award on behalf of the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance. The Alliance, led by the American Lung Association, is comprised of a comprehensive network of groups determined to improve the health of our state. “We work together to raise awareness that tobacco addiction is a chronic, relapsing medical condition, not just a habit or personal choice, and to advocate for the adoption of comprehensive cessation health plan benefits for all tobacco users statewide,” said Cuddihy.

“At Jackson Health System, we believe our employees are our most important asset, and we want to offer all the benefits available to improve their health,” said Tala Teymour, Senior Director of Total Rewards & Employee Wellness at Jackson Health System. “Through our comprehensive tobacco cessation program, we can accomplish our goals, and ensure we have a healthy and engaged workforce.”

Locally, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County has been working with Jackson Health System on evaluating their health benefits program.

“We are very excited that Jackson Healthy System has made great strides in providing their employees tobacco cessation services and the resources to help them lead more productive and healthier lives,” said Dr. Lillian Rivera, RN, MSN, PhD, Administrator/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in MiamiDade County.

It is estimated that smoking cost Florida $19.6 billion a year in workplace productivity losses, premature deaths and direct healthcare expenditures. The Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance and the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program are working to educate business communities about how providing comprehensive tobacco cessation treatment as a health benefit will not only improve the health of their employees, but also improve their bottom line.