Oswego Industries, ARC of Oswego Go Tobacco-Free This Thursday

Oswego Industries, Inc., a Community Rehabilitation Program based in Fulton, New York, will be going tobacco-free beginning November 19. Its sister agency, ARC of Oswego County, will do the same. Once the policy is in effect, neither staff, program participants, nor visitors will be allowed to use tobacco products anywhere on the nonprofits’ properties, including in personal vehicles. In addition, employees that primarily work in the community will not be permitted to use tobacco products while on paid time.

“We work with a population that has many medical challenges,” said Paul Kurtzman, Executive Director of both not-for-profits. “It is our responsibility to make our service environment as healthy as possible for them. We know this will be difficult for some of our staff, and even for some of the people we serve. But we also understand that sometimes, the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do.”

Oswego Industries, Inc. provides services such as pre-vocational and vocational training, day habilitation services, and Medicaid Service Coordination to individuals with disabilities in Oswego County. ARC of Oswego County provides Early Intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental conditions, day habilitation services for senior citizens with disabilities, and other, similar programs and services. Many individuals served have multiple disabilities, such as intellectual and physical disabilities, and concurrent health problems such as asthma, allergies, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory difficulties.

Health organizations in recent years have experienced strong encouragement to adopt tobacco-free policies, such as Oswego Health, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center have done. In addition to producing healthier employees and customers, organizations with a no-tobacco policy benefit from lower insurance rates, lower Workers’ Compensation expenses, and increased employee productivity. Many colleges and universities across the country are also going tobacco-free.

Oswego Industries, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit Community Rehabilitation Program which has been providing programs and services to adults with disabilities since 1968. Its mission is to be a partner in the development of comprehensive community services designed to improve the quality of life for all people, with the primary emphasis on those with disabilities, by providing the necessary support programs to enable individuals to grow with dignity and achieve their highest level of independence and self-fulfillment. Most recently, the organization was named winner of the Chamber of Commerce Not-For-Profit of the Year Award for 2009. Its sister agency, ARC of Oswego County, provides services to children and seniors with disabilities: together creating a comprehensive support system for Oswego County residents with disabilities.