MILLINOCKET – Mill workers who smoke will have to find another place to light up when Katahdin Paper Co. goes smoke-free beginning Jan. 1 at its paper mills in East Millinocket and Millinocket.
The company had notified its workers of the new policy when they were hired in the spring, according to Glenn Saucier, the company’s human resources manager.
Katahdin Paper’s parent company, Brascan, has a smoke-free policy at other paper facilities it owns, including a number of Fraser paper mills, Saucier said. The company is hoping to follow the direction of the state in becoming more smoke-free, he said.
All of the state’s bars will go smoke-free the same day.
Employee health and productivity were among the reasons behind the new policy, Saucier said.
“The primary reason is health,” Saucier said recently. “Health care is a big cost for us.”
Katahdin Paper is not alone in taking an active role to cut health care costs. As part of its wellness program, construction giant Cianbro started a smoking ban a year ago at all work sites, as well as inside and outside its buildings.
Katahdin Paper’s no-smoking policy will apply to both mill campuses and designated smoking areas will cease to exist, Saucier said.
The company will be offering assistance to employees who are looking to quit smoking, he said.
With its more than 400 employees at the two facilities, Katahdin Paper is one of the region’s largest employers.