Exempt From NYC Smoking Ban, United Nations Tests Wellness Program with a Focus on Smoking Cessation
From July 2002 to July 2005, staff from the City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the United Nations (UN) Medical Services Division collaborated to develop a worksite health promotion program, with a particular focus on smoking cessation, for employees at UN headquarters.
Health department staff completed a Wellness Resource Center Web site to provide information about, and encourage participation in, the newly created wellness program.
Health department and UN staff worked together to run two four-month "wellness challenges" for UN employees in New York. More than 1,000 people participated in at least one component of the first challenge; about 200 participated in at least one component of the second challenge. The components of the challenges included:
- Health screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels and body mass index).
- A healthy eating plan to improve eating habits.
- A physical activity program.
- A tobacco cessation program.
In addition, project staff offered informal health education workshops at lunchtime.
United Nations staff implemented environmental changes at headquarters, including:
- A workplace policy that bans smoking except in designated areas.
- Glass walls that partition a smoking area in an on-site dining facility.
- Centrally located bulletin boards that provide information about wellness initiative programs.