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HCADA Recognizes Bikes for Christ as a Tobacco-Free Workplace

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Local nonprofit’s new workplace policy reflects larger commitment to individual and community health

Hillsborough County, Fla. (August 20, 2020) – Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance (HCADA) is proud to recognize Bikes for Christ (B4C), a local nonprofit, as one of Florida’s newest tobacco-free workplaces.

Being smoke-free is a lifestyle choice at B4C, and President and Founder Pat Simmons recently made the decision to adopt a written tobacco-free workplace policy that addresses all tobacco products, including electronic nicotine devices.

“We at Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance celebrate this decision and would like to recognize Bikes for Christ for making this contribution to public health,” said Tobacco Program Manager/Community Coordinator Diadra W. Biles, D.P.M., M.P.H., C.P.H., who worked with Simmons to explore and establish this new policy.

Bikes for Christ is located in Hillsborough County and provides donated bicycles to veterans and underprivileged children and seniors in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk and Pasco Counties. According to CEO Pat Simmons, “Bikes For Christ is seeing a large increase in the need for bicycles as a primary mode of transportation for many who are asset limited and income constrained, yet still employed.”

The consulting to go tobacco-free is a resource HCADA is proud to provide for free to Hillsborough County businesses and multi-unit housing complexes. In the past five years, HCADA has identified approximately 36 businesses and 67 multi-unit residences that either were or became tobacco-free zones, including Albany Westlands Apartments, 500 Harbour Island, Shadetree Apartments and The Ramada Tampa.

HCADA is working hard to help other businesses and organizations in Hillsborough County become tobacco-free while also shining a spotlight on businesses and residences deserving awareness for being early adopters and demonstrating public health consciousness. Becoming a tobacco-free establishment means an organization cares about its employees, customers, and community,” says Biles.

The scope of the effort facing tobacco prevention advocates is vast: an alarming new study conducted by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Washington University in St. Louis found that tobacco retailers are clustered near schools and in low-income neighborhoods. The tobacco industry is so intent on selling to kids that 63 percent of public schools are two blocks from a tobacco retailer. The vast majority (70 percent) of city residents live within a half-mile of a tobacco retailer, and there are 31 times more tobacco retailers than McDonald’s and 16 times more than Starbucks. Each and every business or residence that institutes tobacco-free policies is working to turn this tide and make a big difference in its community.

To learn more about Bikes for Christ and to donate, visit bikes4christ.com. To learn more about HCADA’s tobacco-free policy resources and support or to become involved in our tobacco and substance use prevention effort, visit HCADA.com.

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