The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center is now completely tobacco and smoke-free. New rules went into effect last month prohibiting any use of tobacco and e-cigarette throughout the outdoor common areas of the center’s campus. This includes an on-property courtyard and all parking areas. This is a change from the previous policy, which only banned tobacco and smoke products indoors. The policy update that went into effect on November 10 applies to all Harbor Light Center employees and clients.
Evan Langholt, the Executive Director at Harbor Light Center, “The update to Harbor Light’s smoking policy is designed to promote improved health among staff and clients. This will also compliment the comprehensive treatment we provide to men and women that turn to The Salvation Army for help with overcoming substance abuse.”
Langholt said 90% of clients at Harbor Light Center previously used tobacco products compared with roughly 5% of staff. He expects the change in policy to bring about greater success in the recovery process for each client.
“Our focus is on providing comprehensive substance abuse treatment to help every person who comes through our doors to successfully overcome their addictions,” said Langholt. “While we know this will be challenging to staff and, particularly, clients in recovery we know this will have an overall positive effect on the health and well-being of everyone affected.
The Salvation Army is collaborating with D.C.’s Department of Health and the University of Maryland to assist staff and clients who are experiencing difficulties from tobacco withdrawal. Health officials in the District are providing free nicotine patches and lozenges to any city resident currently in treatment at Harbor Light Center and a 24-hour quit line for former smokers. The University of Maryland is increasing the amount of smoking cessation groups at Harbor Light Center, a program that is available to both clients and staff.
Thousands of people have overcome alcohol and drug addiction since Harbor Light Center first opened its doors more than 17 years ago. The 136-bed facility provides individual and group counseling, life skills courses for managing grief and anger, and training for independent living and meaningful employment.