Clearing the air

If you’re a fan of Mad Men, it’s hard to imagine a midcentury interior without the cloud of cigarette smoke swirling above the heads of those seated on the very stylish furniture. In the 1950’s and 60’s cigarette smoking was considered glamorous and cool. Anybody who was anybody was a smoker. James Dean and Audrey Hepburn, to name just a few. Most everyone was smoking or aspiring to smoke – how many old movies have we seen where kids can’t wait to try smoking, just like their parents?

My parents were young smokers, but quit cold-turkey when my older brother was born and his little lungs had very little tolerance for cigarette smoke. As a child of the 60’s I don’t remember my parents ever smoking. I do, however, remember lots of family gatherings surrounded by a foggy haze of smoke from relatives.

Little by little, it has become clear that smoking is harmful to the body – both for the person smoking and the people around them. Contemporary research and information shows us how damaging and life-shortening cigarette smoking can be.

It’s for that reason that as of January 1, 2018, all Room & Board facilities will be tobacco-free. This will include cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. The buildings have been smoke-free environments for years, but this policy will include outside areas, parking lots, alleys, etc.

Yes, it starts in 2018. As I write this it will be pretty much over a year from now that this policy activates. The understanding is that it can take a while to kick a habit that many have had for years, often working through several failed attempts before finding a treatment that sticks. Smoking can be a tenacious monkey on your back.

We also understand that being smoke free benefits not just the staff member but those that love and care about the staff member, at work and at home. It’s important to your quality of life. For this reason Room & Board is offering lots of support like telephonic tobacco cessation counseling, access to state-sponsored programs, doctor prescribed Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products at no cost through our company insurance, and even support for alternative treatments such as hypnosis or acupuncture if traditional treatments aren’t successful.

The good things in life endure – like classic, contemporary midcentury inspired furniture . . . ahem. And those things that we once thought were good and sexy and cool, but now know are harmful, well, those things have had their time. It’s time for a journey forward to a happier, healthier tomorrow.


Chicago Tribune Features Blog