BreatheFree: Stop Tobacco Use in the Workplace Project

The BreatheFree Stop Tobacco Use in the Workplace Project: La Pine Community Health Center

Brenna Francis and Erin Brunton
Health Educator and Community Health Worker
La Pine Community Health Center

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems, and many other serious health problems.
Smoking employees have substantially greater absenteeism, injuries, and accidents than do non-smoking employees. Smokers may be less productive because of time lost on smoking breaks and tobacco-related illnesses.
Deschutes County and surrounding communities spend over $50 million dollars a year in tobacco-related medical care costs and loses over $40 million in productivity due to premature tobacco-related deaths. Almost 70 percent of Deschutes County adult residents who smoke tobacco want to quit and 52 percent of them made an attempt to quit in the past year.

The BreatheFree Stop Tobacco Use in the Workplace Project is a year-long La Pine Community Health Center tobacco cessation project funded by a $25,000 Knight Cancer Institute grant.
Funding for this project was provided in part by the OSHU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program, a grant program that supports communities across Oregon in addressing local cancer-related needs.

The project helps businesses and employees stop using tobacco in the workplace and covers businesses in southern Deschutes, northern Klamath and northwestern Lake County. This project will also use trained facilitators and is designed around the evidence-based Freshstart program (American Cancer Society).

It has two purposes:
1. enable local businesses to identify and implement tobacco use policies and procedures in accordance with the Oregon Clean Air Act and,
2. recruit, educate and support employees as they develop and implement quit-tobacco plans.


The BreatheFree Project utilizes trained facilitators, classes, support groups, educational materials and nicotine replacement therapies (gums and lozenges) either at work or at the La Pine Community Health Center to help local businesses and their employees:

1. support employee quit tobacco-use attempts,
2. create and carry-out quit-tobacco plans and
3. better understand and abide by new Oregon Clean Air Act regulations.

The Project uses pre-post employer-employee interviews, four, one-hour sessions, follow-up surveys and offers employees continued access to educational resources and training through La Pine Community Health Center. Erin Brunton, Community Health Worker, is responsible for contacting and implementing with the media, businesses and organizations. Erin is a trained facilitator of the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart Smoking Cessation program.

When and Where
Businesses, organizations and the media will be contacted in May 2018

Additional information:
The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program is designed to build sustainable collaborations with Oregon communities by providing grants and other resources to foster development of community-identified cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship projects. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has made a decade-long commitment to invest in this program to develop robust, sustainable programs that benefit the health of all Oregonians. Additional information about the program is available on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s website.