The decision by Toyota Motor Manufacturing to implement a totally tobacco/smoke free campus at its new Union County facility is somewhat surprising given the number of Mississippians who smoke or chew.

The company announced this week that the Mississippi manufacturing plant will be the first Toyota plant in North America to become totally tobacco/smoke free.

The new policy will go into effect Sept. 6, 2001, which also is about the time the plant is expected to produce its first Corollas.

Smoking, smokeless and non-tobacco/smoke smoking products will be prohibited not only in the plant and around its shipping and receiving docks, but also in company parking lots. The policy will apply to all employees, suppliers, contractors and visitors to the facility, the company said.

“The decision to implement a tobacco free campus … was made as part of our overall company initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle for team members, on-site suppliers, contractors, and visitors,” the company statement said.

The company said there are no plans to implement a tobacco-free campus at any other current Toyota location.

Toyota operates an enormous plant that produces the Camry in the heart of tobacco-growing country in Georgetown, Ky.

We applaud the company for starting with a fresh outlook toward tobacco at its Mississippi facility. It’s another step in the effort to get Mississippians to eliminate the use of tobacco products for their own health and that of colleagues around them.

Health and wellness initiatives are important for all of us.

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