Photo Caption: Eileen Clyne, Christ Hospital’s Human Resources Director (left), and Miriam Rodriguez, Benefits Analyst, offered healthy snacks and tips to quit smoking for employees and visitors who visited the hospital’s Great American Smokeout display on November 19. The event also served as the kick-off towards the hospital becoming a totally smoke-free environment by June 2010.
Each year cigarette smoking accounts for approximately one of every five deaths, or about 438,000 people. While smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, it costs billions of health care dollars every year.
In an effort to keep its employees and patients healthy, officials at Christ Hospital announced on November 19, the 34th anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, that its campus will become totally smoke free- inside and out. This new policy change means patients, visitors, and Christ Hospital employees (including volunteers, medical staff, and affiliates) will be asked to refrain from using lighted tobacco products on all Christ Hospital- owned property, including outdoor areas and parking lots. Â Â
“While our buildings have been tobacco-free for many years, we have permitted smoking in designated areas outside of our facilities. These smoking areas will be eliminated in the near future to reduce the dangers from second-hand smoke as we continue to fulfill our mission by promoting a healthy lifestyle,” says Christ Hospital President and CEO Peter Kelly.Â Â
Research confirms the role of second-hand smoke in asthma, emphysema and lung disease- even in non-smokers. “As the healthcare provider of choice for over 100,000 people annually, we have an obligation to provide a healthy, smoke-free environment for our patients, guests and staff. The decision to eliminate smoking on our campus comes as over 60% of all hospitals nationwide have already developed policies addressing this issue and it is anticipated that by the end of next year, over 90% of U.S. hospitals will be completely smoke-free as well.” Â
Â “This new policy is simply extending the reach of wellness to the entire campus,” says Kelly. “To make this transition as easy as possible, employees will be encouraged to utilize resources provided by the state’s department of health and human services as well as attend local support groups that will soon be offered by the hospital.”