How to Quit Smoking                 George Wells

Our classmates have had amazing and varied careers and jobs since graduation. These jobs have brought us everything from near-death experiences, to great vignettes. My career has been quite varied; but the implementation by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services of a “No Tobacco Policy” I thought might interest you.    


After serving 20 years on active duty and a little more than 7 years in the “real world”, I found myself working for the Nebraska prison system. During my tenure as their IT Manager, our Director implemented a “No Tobacco Policy” at all of our facilities. The policy applied to inmates, staff, and visitors. The Department offered cease smoking classes and the patch to inmates and staff. Staff members were subject to disciplinary action (including being fired), inmates could lose “good time”, and visitors could lose visiting rights. For those not in the “know”, “good time” refers to a program whereby inmates can shorten their prison sentence by following the rules and staying out of trouble. All tobacco products became contraband.  


Remember all those movies about prisoners trading cigarettes for “favors”? Well, not in Nebraska anymore. Amazingly enough, the short transition to non-smoking wasn’t really an issue. Sure, inmates whined about it. But that’s just one more thing for them to complain about and is relatively minor compared to the loss of canteen access.


I’m sure there are folks who think that not allowing prisoners to smoke is unfair. Those folks need to look at states like California and the high cost of inmate health care due to tobacco use. 


Small world story—the State of Nebraska uses the same Microsoft software that most corporations use. Doesn’t everyone buy from Microsoft? We got a new Microsoft outside sales representative, named Jane Thompson. When we started chatting, and she learned that I had gone to the zoo, she told about catching a hat when her big brother graduated from the zoo. Turns out her big brother is our classmate Bill Van Horn.


I few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a two day conference in Denver. Bill Van Horn picked me up in his red convertible Corvette and we spent a nice afternoon tooling through the Colorado mountains. It brought back memories of the 1966 corvette I had as a firstie.


Bill Van Horn

9491 South Johnson Court 

Littleton, CO 80127


303-948-8435   work

303-596-3615   cell


USAFA Class of '74 - published a book of our experiences for our 40th reunion!



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