Tobacco Free Worksites are Expanding in Marion County
November 15, 2018

Marion County has been gaining more tobacco free worksites this fall, which create safer and healthier environments for employees and customers alike. The CDC tell us that most tobacco users want to quit, and that implementing tobacco free policies increase the success rates for those making a quit attempt.  Those worksites gained, such as Ocala Community Credit Union and Ramah Missionary Baptist Church Inc. have taken the step to join in the effort for creating environments with clean air to all those on the grounds. Other worksites, like ClosetMaid, have exceeded the average tobacco free worksite by introducing improved insurance for employees which offer increased access to tobacco cessation aids like nicotine replacement therapies options, counseling and medications. Additionally, this particular worksite is on its way to being the first to receive the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance (FTCA) award in Marion County.

Ocala Community Credit Union is one of those local businesses that once you are a customer, you continue to come back. This member owned not-for-profit bank has serviced the local residents since 1953. The management and board continue to strive towards the latest software, ATM access, and highest customer service. I know this to be true, not only because of the recent tobacco free policy installment, but because I am one of the 2,800 satisfied customers of this bank. The staff is genuine, and the management cares. It is made even more evident by the recent implementation of the tobacco free grounds for employees and visitors.

The President and CEO, Steven Nazaruk, says about the tobacco free grounds, “the new policy is great, I really believe it’s a good thing, and as a bonus I don’t have to pick up as many cigarette butts at the entrance.” In addition to providing healthier environments, tobacco free worksites have several advantages for businesses. They save businesses money in health care costs, and in productivity, Tobacco Free Florida tells us it adds up to about $6,000 in cost saving for employers every year.

Ocala Community Credit Union’s new policy is in place at their office on 36th Ave., which they were able to do even as their new branch in Marion Oaks was launching.

Ramah Missionary Baptist Church Inc. is a place a worship founded in 1892, and another worksite that has recently implemented a tobacco free policy. They are a campus that has a very active health ministry, and believes that those in the church should start by being a role model for their congregation supporting the moto of, “Come Grow with Us.” The health ministry opted to have a brief tobacco education presentation for staff and congregants in addition to a month long temporary educational display before bringing in the policy. The presentation and display included education on types of tobacco products, the dangers of tobacco use, and the benefits of quitting. Several congregants were surprised when learning the hazards, chemicals used in tobacco, and beneficial health facts when quitting. Posted signage will soon follow the new policy.      

ClosetMaid has recently made changes to their employee insurance, which places them in the FTCA Gold eligibility, making them the first employer to apply for the gold award in Marion County. The “FTCA has developed a plan to recognize employers who offer outstanding cessation benefits to their employees. This award is based on the Public Health Services Clinical Practice Guidelines on Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. FTCA has set up an award system for GOLD and SILVER level standards for comprehensive tobacco cessation benefits.” You can visit their website at to learn more about the FTCA award.

Marion County employers are making great strides for their staff and visitors for providing the healthiest environments; maintaining the social norm that tobacco use is not the majority, and residents, staff and visitors, deserve to breathe clean air on their worksite grounds.

If you would like more information on the QuitDoc Foundation, the Tobacco Prevention Program, or Tobacco Free Worksites please contact Tobacco Prevention Specialist
Lauren Fischer at 352.598.8241 or