It is the district’s intent to create a tobacco- and nicotine-free environment within district-owned facilities, including the district office and maintenance buildings, reservoir sites, vehicles, pump stations, etc.
Smoking is the major preventable cause of premature deaths today, killing 300,000 to 500,000 Americans annually. Nonsmokers, comprising over 70 percent of the adult population in the United States, may be harmed by secondhand or passive smoke. The hazards range from immediate reactions (eye and ear irritations, headaches, breathing difficulties) to long-term serious health effects. Individuals exposed to smoke may develop lung cancer and may lose lung capacity. Additionally, certain district employees may be especially susceptible in a smoke-filled environment due to respiratory disease, heart disease, or allergies.
Chewing tobacco is likewise a cancer causing agent that endangers the health and lives of those who use it. Although chewing tobacco does not pose the same documented “secondhand” threats to nonusers as smoking, the act of chewing tobacco is unsightly and creates unsanitary, unhealthy, and undesirable waste remnants that may potentially expose nonusers to health risks.
E-cigarettes and other vaping products use liquid chemicals, including nicotine. While the long-term health risks of e-cigarettes, including secondhand exposure, has not been fully researched, the chemicals contained in the concentrated liquid is toxic. In addition, there are reports that the lithium batteries used to power e-cigarettes or vaporizers are exploding, posing a significant risk to people and property.
Additionally, tobacco and nicotine use negatively impacts workplace productivity. It is also likely to have an undesirable refuse effect and the district desires to eliminate the disposal of cigarette butts, chewing tobacco spittle, and other debris from district property, including its sidewalks and common entryways.
The district’s facilities and job sites shall be a “tobacco- and nicotine-free” environment. No employee or member of the public shall be permitted to smoke, vape with e-cigarettes, or use chewing tobacco products while present upon any district-owned facility. This includes all outdoor areas which constitute district property. No employee shall be permitted to use tobacco or nicotine products during work time.
Employees who violate this policy on tobacco or nicotine use shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. Employees who observe members of the public violating this policy should immediately report such violation to the district’s general manager or designee.
This policy is one of the most important steps that the district can take to improve its work environment. We rely upon the cooperation of all our employees. The district supports its employees’ efforts to quit using tobacco and nicotine products. Certain costs associated with quitting such tobacco and nicotine products may be covered by the district’s health care plan(s). Employees seeking to quit their tobacco and nicotine use should see their health care provider for additional information relating to these benefits. The general manager shall have the authority to review and approve an employee’s medical cessation treatment that may include the interim use of tobacco and nicotine products, as proscribed or recommended by an employee’s physician.
It shall also be the policy of the district to hire only personnel who do not use tobacco or nicotine products. [Res. 723 § 2 (Exh. A), 2016.]