Camel Cigarette Maker, 2nd Largest Tobacco Company In US, Tells Employees No More Smoking In The Office

Smoke Free Workplace
Camel cigarette maker declares office a smoke-free workplace. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Reynolds American Inc., Camel cigarettes maker, recently informed its employees its offices and building will become a smoke-free workplace at the beginning of the upcoming year. The second largest cigarette maker in the United States announced on Wednesday that its new no-smoking ban will go into effect as soon as indoor smoking areas have been built for employees looking to take a smoke break.

"We believe it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it because updating our tobacco use policies will better accommodate both non-smokers and smokers who work in and visit our facilities," Reynold American spokesman David Howard told The Associated Press. "We're just better aligning our tobacco use policies with the realities of what you're seeing in society today."

Although smoking traditional cigarettes, cigars, and pipes will no longer be permitted in hallways, elevators, conference rooms, and desks or offices, employees will still be allowed to use smokeless tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes. Employees also will be allowed to use Eclipse, a so-called “heat-not-burn” cigarette that uses a carbon tip to heat tobacco via a lighter.

Smoking on factory floors or inside cafeterias and fitness centers is already banned. Around 5,200 Reynolds American employees smoke, which is on par with the national average of adults who smoke at 20 percent. The decision to ban smoking at their Winston-Salem headquarters came at the behest of attendees at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

“Reynolds seems to finally be admitting that secondhand smoke harms health after publicly denying it for decades.” Vince Willmore, vice president for communications for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told the Winston-Salem Journal. “However, by allowing designated smoking areas, their new policy still fails to provide effective protection from secondhand smoke and the lung cancer and heart disease it causes.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 480,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to smoking, including 41,000 deaths that are the result secondhand smoke exposure. Tobacco use around the world currently results in five million deaths each year, but trends show this number could reach as high as eight million deaths per year by 2030. For every death caused by smoking, 30 more people suffer from at least one serious illness due to smoking. 

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