A Southeast Kansas community organization is hoping to improve your health by working with your boss. Healthy Bourbon County is in the process of beginning a community wide tobacco cessation program.
Why is Healthy Bourbon County working with the business community on this? There are several reasons. First, there's lost productivity time and health expenses. But that's not the only reasons. It's also about improving community morale and the quality of life. That's why organizations like the Chamber of Commerce are supporting the effort.
"The Chamber is a proud partner with the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team initiative,” says Lindsay Madison.
And Ft. Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison says that's because of the impact it can have on the whole community.
"A healthy place makes an employer more enticing to work for, we also see this as a way that will help our employers, once their employees are more healthy, will help them reduce costs in insurance,” says Lindsay Madison.
This will be the third year Healthy Bourbon County has worked with the business community to create a healthier work environment, and this year they'll focus on tobacco. Healthy Bourbon County Action Team Leader Jody Hoener says when the community was asked to identify health concerns, tobacco was towards the top of the list.
"When our community responds and says, 'Well, we think we're unhealthy or very unhealthy because, almost a quarter of it is because of tobacco use or drug use,' that's something we should really address as a community,” says Jody Hoener.
And because of the amount of time we spend at work each week, Hoener says it's a natural place to focus putting information to help those who want to stop using tobacco.
"The community perception survey definitely says the same thing that we all feel about work, sometimes it's a barrier for us living healthy,” says Hoener.
Hoener says a number of Bourbon county employers will be working with Healthy Bourbon County on the initiative, by making sure employees who want help kicking the habit know what resources are available, because of what those employees mean to their employers and the community.
"If we had policies within our work sites, if we had employers who said, you know, we see you as so much of a value to us that we want to invest in you and our work site to have a healthier place, then that's a place that I want to work and that's a place that we all want to be a part of,” says Hoener.
This is just one part of the quality of life initiative Healthy Bourbon County is working on. There are a total of seven pathways they're working on through that, including healthy workplaces.